Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has revealed this week that the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is getting most of its funding from some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) businesspeople as well as activists and some in the party structures.
Even though he could not disclose the funds in figures and the pledges put forward by these people former President Khama said 90 percent of the funds are from his former party, the BDP. At BPF’s first press briefing this past week, Tati West legislator and party leader, Biggie Butale made a revealing statement that some business people who have shown keen interests in funding the new party have continued to receive harassment from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS).
This move is seen as political ploy aimed at blocking the BPF funds from well-wishers and members who wants to donate in a kind. Khama told WeekendPost this that he is aware of some DIS tactics aimed at blocking the party funds and donations. “In this country if you are seen not to be supporting the current administration you are deemed an enemy of state,” he said. Khama said however, they have received quite a number of donations from the ruling BDP and a quite significant number of them have pledged to donate.
“I cannot confirm whether they are joining us or they are sympathizing, but those I have met are still consulting either with their constituents or families,” said Khama. Khama continued to say the problem with the BDP of today is that if he can reveal the names of their donors they will be kicked out of the party immediately something he does not wish to see happen. “At the moment the fact that they are supporting us is important. They may not have to necessarily join us,” he said.
While discussing the issue pertaining to the Tati East Member of Parliament Samson Moyo Guma, Khama said he is in touch with Guma and he had anticipated that he will come at the end of June which has since passed. “At the moment I don’t know what his plans are and what they depend on so I will be misleading you,” Khama said. Guma had earlier confirmed that he will contest the constituency under the BPF.
Former President Khama also took the opportunity to clear the air on his purported ‘preferred candidate’ for choice of President at BPF saying he absolutely has no clue or whatsoever on who is running for Presidency thus he cannot have any influence. “I do understand the approach of the party, its policies and what it stands for but I don’t have anyone in mind who can drive this agenda. The party will obviously decide who will be its leader at the Kanye congress [today].” Khama said.
Khama also said his role in the party will be determined at the congress: “I cannot decide on my own what I want. I personally have made some pronouncement in Serowe during my consultative meeting that I will continue to engage and help launch those who approach me in the opposition like I did this past weekend in Mmatshumo and the weekend after this one I will be in Rakops. This is my stand and I will continue to do so.”
Khama said should the new party undertake to charge him with any responsibility in the executive committee, they will have to convince him why. There are reports that link the former President with the Chairmanship position an observation that he totally distances himself from. When commenting on Lerala-Maunatlala legislator Prince Maele the former President said Maele has always assured him of his support and that he will obviously join the new party at a later stage.
He said upon consulting with his constituents, they advised him (Maele) to contest as an independent candidate because they do not trust the BPF as it is relatively new. Khama said he has no doubt that Maele who will be attending today’s congress will join the BPF in future or after the general elections. He said a couple of independent candidates have been invited and they will join forces with the new party.
While commenting about Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Khama said it is true that she was not approached to join the new party. “This like I said is a new party and every member at the moment has been working on voluntary basis but once we have an elected executive committee in place they will approach people they want into the party,”
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.