Political leaders across the aisle have joined their hands against what has been labelled as unjust governance, blatant abuse of power and basic disregard of the basic tenets of fairness by state apparatus, especially Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) for ‘harassing’ Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko.
This week reports emerged that BURS, accompanied by armed officers from another government department of the executive branch of government spent an extended period at Boko’s home. At the time of the raid, Boko was said to be in South Africa and the officers instead interrogated family members.
This has rubbed Alliance for Progressives (AP) leader Ndaba Gaolathe the wrong way. “This is a typical case of unjust governance, a blatant abuse of power and a disregard of the basic tenets of fairness. Injustice is injustice regardless of the name of the person to whom it is being administered. If Hon Boko has committed crimes or is being suspected of so doing, then the system should attend to him in accordance with due process,” Gaolathe said.
It is not the first time Boko is having scuffle with BURS. In April this year Taxman seized the two aircraft, an Agusta 119 and a Beech 190 Wednesday that belonged to Waleed Helicopter Services on suspicion that the pilots failed to comply with customs procedures. The UDC hired the chopper and the jet for use in preparation for 2019 general election campaign. Thereafter, Boko saw his top of the range Range Rover SUV impounded. By then Boko was being investigated for tax evasion by BURS officials.
What irks Ndaba the most is the fact that those personnel visited Boko’s family, to interrogate them about matters relating to a person whose absence they were aware of. “This should worry all fair minded citizens, we cannot afford a further entrenchment of injustice nor should we encourage the celebration of a creeping authoritarianism. I have said it before, that I live to fight injustice, and it does not matter the hour or the victim, I will always fight on the side of justice,” he said.
This according to Ndaba is the beginning of many atrocities opposition politicians and their families will endure especially during the election season. UDC has also registered their complaints through a press release. “We have noted with great concern the continued use of state apparatus by Masisi's Government in harassing and intimidating political opponents. Today, and throughout this week, Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) has been invading the home of Boko, harassing the family, enquiring about the movement of Mr Boko, the mode of transport he uses and which border used to travel to South Africa. All of this is a violation of the private rights of Mr. Boko,” a statement penned by UDC, Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa read.
This, according to the statement, is a catastrophe for the democracy, particularly in an election year. These, the release say can be summarized as acts of cowardice, intolerance and an attempt to retain power by all means including undemocratic ones. “It is our plea that for the sake of progress of democracy, peace and harmony of this Country, there must be prevalence of free and fair Elections where the Opposition and its leaders are allowed to campaign freely without harassment and intimidation occasioned to them and their families”, Mohwasa wrote on the release.
The UDC has warned that state's democratic Institutions and Departments must not meddle in political campaigns as that will destroy their independence and integrity. “We advise President Masisi to tread carefully because the actions of his government have potential to trigger a civil strife, consequently destroying this country, and surely he will be liable for failing the test of statesmanship. We at UDC commit to a peaceful, prosperous Country where a person’s political and economic rights are guaranteed and respected.”
The release continued, “We are aware that the current regime wants to create chaos in the Country and thereafter impose a state of emergency which will among others, delay the process of Elections and thereby extending President Masisi's rule against the will of the people.”
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.