President Mokgweetsi Masisi is torn between his number one enemy former Presidents, Lt Gen Ian Khama and Festus Mogae, as pressure mounts from his inner circle to revoke some of entitlements of former presidents.
If he is to amend the Act which was altered in 2017 to appease Khama, it will naturally affect Mogae’s entitlements. Sources within the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have revealed that some democrats have been mounting pressure on the President to revoke some of Khama’s benefits. What they find ironical in the history of Botswana is the perpetual use of the luxurious official government vehicles bearing the BX number plates by the former President in opposition party events.
After resigning from the ruling BDP at a consultative meeting in Serowe almost two months back, former President Khama joined the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), a party he facilitated its formation, as a Patron. In a bizarre turn of events, Khama arrived to a swarming crowd at Kanye during the BPF launch in his luxurious black Lexus, something which irked members of the ruling party.
The contention is that now that he joined opposition, the Khama should not be allowed to use official government vehicles bearing the BX number plates on opposition events. Former Presidents’ benefits provides that a former president be afforded an official transportation and it does not indicate any limitations as to where they go and in extension which event they attend.
Sometime in June this year, Masisi upon his arrival from an international trip in the United States, apologised to the nation for what he termed ‘wrongly amending the former Presidents Benefits Act’ to please Khama. Masisi in his capacity as the former Vice President then and leader of the house which dispersed at midnights, is the custodian and champion of the new Act. President Masisi was quoted in one of the local newspapers saying, at the time opposition parties warned against the idea to please Khama but he and other BDP MPs turned a blind eye.
"I owe you and the opposition an apology. We made a mistake on Khama. We apologise for not listening to the opposition. It is sad. We thought it would never be like this. We thought the assurance that once I (in reference to Khama) am allowed to work I will not destabilize the government, and this is a total somersault."
He reiterated that: "We made a mistake on the passing of the amendments to the former Presidents Benefits Act. We made a mistake taking it that when the Presidents retired they will not work. If they did their benefits were to be withdrawn; work is much influence." He also revealed that had they not made the "big mistake, we would be withdrawing all benefits for former President Khama if he works because he is retired and should not be working as per the previous retired Presidents Benedict Act."
He further stated that: "We made a very big mistake. I am the first to admit it, a very big mistake. Because if that leverage was still there we would withdraw all the benefits that former President Khama has for engaging in politics again because he has retired." A close source to the developments indicated that Masisi find himself fighting a bitter end; if he goes on to satisfy himself and impress his democrats, Mogae will become collateral damage.
Mogae, though he has not entangled himself in the Masisi-Khama feud, he has at the beginning of the fallout of the duo criticised for Khama for being divisive. The issue of former presidents’ benefits, if tampered with, may make Masisi prone to be used by former president, sources have indicated.Masisi has been warned that should he go on with the decision, he will also lose big if he loses the general elections to the opposition in October. “This was initially his intention, now he finds himself in a dilemma and he is very indecisive,” said the source.
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.