President Mokgweetsi Masisi has this week assured the international community that there is no crisis in Botswana. Botswana caught wave of international news lately in the ongoing power feud between incumbent president Masisi and the former president Ian Khama.
Khama has fallen out with his former no. 2 over a supposedly “secret deal” that they agreed and later not implemented – at the expense of the nation. The ex-president has now dumped the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) – as its patron – which he later aligned with the main opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The battle ground has been drawn and Masisi has already released a writ of elections for polls to be conducted on October 3, 2019 as is the norm.
Speaking to the international media, specifically CNBC Africa, at the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, Masisi insisted that Botswana is not undergoing any crisis with regard to politics and elections. President Masisi sat down with CNBC Africa’s Fifi Peters and touched on diversifying the country’s economy from a resource based economy to a knowledge based economy as well the upcoming general elections.
“On your other point of Botswana not being no more boring, of course Botswana is not boring. But look there is no crisis in Botswana. There is absolutely no crisis,” Masisi insisted. He added that “there is predictability, there is the rule of law applied. There is calmness. The elections are coming. Everything is being done regularly.” According to Masisi, the very fact that we have something unprecedented in a former president campaigning with the opposition cannot be overemphasized.
“He never said he wants to be president. He said he wants this president (me, as Masisi) who succeeded him to lose elections,” Masisi pointed out. He asked rhetorically; what’s so irregular about an opponent wanting the other not to win? “Hey this is Botswana. We are going to have an election in October,” the fifth president maintained. When Peter asked if it isn’t that an opponent (Khama) that appointed him to this position? No, he didn’t appoint me, it’s the constitution, get it right, he said.
“When you see a human relationship altercate, don’t mistaken it to be a crisis in a country. Don’t. Former president Khama is not Botswana. President Masisi is not Botswana,” Masisi lashed out. He observed that the elections of Botswana; the processes as run by institutions, are what make up Botswana; and the results of the election will be what Botswana wants – that’s what assured. “But if I speak in a very biased way as I would for my party, I expect it to win. But you know, when you talk to an opponent they also expect to win. But that’s the bias of the individual, and the parties.”
Masisi explained what he is sure of is that Botswana will go through due process and that a winner will be wielded and a government will be formed. “It is predictable. It is stable. This Botswana is stable,” he said. Peter then interjected to ask Masisi: “in terms of what the people who vote for you to power can hold you accountable before should you win, should you win, what can they hold you accountable in terms of the promises by way of job creation clearly for the young people but also for Botswana strife to diversify its economic streams? What can the people hold you accountable to?”
Masisi responded: “they can hold me account to what we have stated in our manifesto, which is our commitment to create jobs, to diversify the economy, our commitment to navigate the economy to increasingly transform from being a resource based economy to a knowledge based economy.” He added that they can hold him accountable to the development of the electric motor vehicle, perhaps even solar powered. They can hold me accountable for the transformation that we want to put in place in our public service, he said while adding that they can hold him accountable for growth in the private sector.
Masisi continued: “they can hold me accountable for reaching out and engaging more with the international community. They can hold me accountable for bringing in more visitors, more tourists, and more investments. That yes they must be hold accountable for, and they will, because I will be there with them.”
When asked what if he is unable to achieve them, the president stated that if he is unable to achieve the things that he promised, then “well it’s another story. I expect not to be unable to achieve it.” “So why should I waste my time thinking about how am going to answer my people if I am not able to? Clearly there may be objective reasons for that but I don’t waste my time with that, I focus on doing what we are going to do,” Masisi concluded.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.