Former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama has finally cut ties with his long-time ally, Tshepang Mabaila who is contesting Mogoditshane parliamentary constituency as an independent candidate.
In a new development, Khama will now back Bruce Nkgakile who announced his defection from the beleaguered Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) last week to join the Khama linked Botswana Patriot Front (BPF). Khama left Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the party founded by his father and regrouped with his close associates as they facilitated the formation BPF, believed to be his brainchild.
Since the formation of the new party expectations were high that some of Khama’s close associates, including Khama’s brother Tshekedi, Mabaila and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi will be the first to join. However, with only two months left before the general elections Mabaila has made his mind to contest the constituency as an independent candidate. Khama’s unsuccessful bid to coax Mabaila to join BPF has seen the party recruiting Nkgakile from the BMD. Nkgakile was first spotted at BPF launch last month, raising suspicion that he has closed ranks with the new party.
Nkgaile will now under BPF colours face, Mabaila, Alliance for Progressives (AP)’s Sedirwa Kgoroba, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Tumiso Chillyboy Rakgare as well as Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Mozambia Dibe. Reports indicate that Khama is scheduled to launch Nkgakile as BPF’s Mogoditshane preferred candidate. Khama has however said, he has not made any pronouncement with regard to who he will launch and support in Mogoditshane.
“The decision on who to launch and not, rests with the interim leadership of the party [BPF]. So far, nothing has been decided with relation to that constituency. I do not want to pre-empt anything and make assumption on who are I am going to launch,” Khama told WeekendPost this week. “It has been resolved that, in a scenario where the party is not contesting, we will support opposition candidate.”
While officially bidding Bangwato farewell at a consultation meeting in Serowe on 25 May 2019, the former President told tribesmen that he will no longer support the party that has backtracked as a result of its new policies under the current leadership. Khama assured Bangwato that he will instead join hands and vote with the opposition in helping remove the BDP from power.
At the recent inaugural BPF press briefing Khama assured members of the media that he will be working with the newly formed party and shall be launching their candidates at some constituencies where they have decided to contest. While addressing multitudes who thronged Kanye at their launch, Khama said their intention is to remove BDP from power thus in some constituencies where they are contesting they will support the UDC. That technical meant the former President will not be launching some independent candidates leaving them with only one option, to join the newly formed BPF or face competition.
“Khama has been advised against some hypocrites who are trying to use him to win elections but will later remain members of BDP or will re-join at a later stage. People like Mabaila have been clear that after serving his suspension he will re-unite with the BDP, thus there is no use supporting him,” said a source close to the development. Last year, in purging of candidates supposedly linked to Khama, President Mokgweetsi Masisi slapped Mabaila with a five-year suspension from the party.
Prior to five-year suspension, Mabaila served a two months suspension pending disciplinary hearing for allegedly committing offences against the rules and regulations and General Code of Conduct of the ruling party. He was also accused of ‘behaving in a grossly disorderly and unruly manner that might put the party’s name into disrepute contrary to General Code of Conduct number 11 and sowing seeds of discord in the party, using regionalism, tribalism or factionalism contrary to General Code of Conduct number 6’.
Mabaila was alleged to have conspired and tried to persuade MPs; Dr Alfred Madigele and Sethomo Lelatisitswe, to support Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko’s motion of no confidence against Masisi. Mabaila an ally of Khama since his military days dating to 2003, says he has made his mind to contest Mogoditshane as an independent candidate. “I will not be joining the new party, that is what the people of Mogoditshane wants,” said Mabaila.
Asked about his current relationship with Khama, Mabaila said he is not aware of any development, implying that Khama is fully behind him. “We are always talking and he never mentioned anything to that effect,” he said.Mabaila who will be launching at Mogoditshane on 7th September said he has invited Khama at the event. Observation shows recently Mabaila has come out on social media praising President Masisi and attacking his former master in what observers outlined as a cry for sympathy by the youthful politician.
A source within the BPF said Mabaila is not the only candidate on Khama’s target, another Khama’s favourite Kamal Jacobs who is contesting Lobatse as an independent candidate will face BPF’s Patrick Kebailele whose roots can be linked to Bangwato royalty. Khama’s decision not to support independent candidates, is a setback for Lerala-Maunatlala legislator, Prince Maele who was suspended from BDP and will be contesting the constituency as an independent candidate. Ironically, Maele was suspended for declaring his support for Khama at a Kgotla meeting, but Khama will not support him for refusing to join BPF.
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.