As preparations for the October elections continue to intensify by the day, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) this week locked all their 57 parliamentary candidates in a lecture room drilling them on how to be honourable members and how to win the October polls.
The party in its effort to win state power has engaged a South African based Status Reputation Management Consultants (RMC) ahead of October elections. This is the same firm that ensured South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters national support grew to 10.79% (this year) from 6.35% in 2014. Moreover it is the same consultancy that propelled DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi to presidency.
Before training the parliamentary candidates, reports from the party say the three UDC constituents party leaders; Duma Boko, Dumelang Saleshando and Motlatsi Molapisi were also tutored in South Africa few weeks back. “At the top was to take them on leadership qualities one has to possess as president. It looked more on Boko who is highly likely to be president of Botswana post October and it was an intensive exercise according to them,” party insider told this publication on Wednesday afternoon.
It is after this engagement with the party politburo that now it was decided that the consultants come to Botswana to train the candidates on a week-long workshop. Costs for this, sources say, clock millions of pula which the UDC president Boko said he has been sourcing from donors across the globe. “We wouldn’t know the exact budget but it should be millions, these consultants are the best their interactions are out of this world,” said one parliamentary candidate who attended the Oasis Motel held workshop.
RMC’s seven consultants also gave the candidates tips on how to win the elections. “These included proper dress code for an MP, how to handle media interviews as a leader and how we should relate with the voters as well as capturing data base of the electorates. And all these are very key in us winning our respective constituencies and we are very glad for the efforts by the party leaders,” added one candidate.
Furthermore sources tell this publication that the consultants’ scope of work is not only focused on the candidates but rather the party as a whole. “They are expected to provide political intelligence to the party by way of analysing the qualities of our representative with those we are contending with, and the report will be out before August. This report will give us a picture of how we are likely to perform at the elections. In cases where we are likely to lose, they will advise the party on what needs to be done to curb that,” said the UDC insider on the corridors of Oasis Motel.
RMC was first contacted by UDC president Boko to assist him with his individual campaigns, now it has swelled over to the whole party. It is said in their interactions with the candidates they also drew a budget for individual constituencies. “In a one on one session you had to demonstrate how much you will need for the campaigns as well as the materials like t-shirts and even a car if there is a need. Then they will cross examine if at all you need that and advise the party accordingly,” added another party member.
For now the whole UDC elections budget is still a party secret and the party leaders, specifically Boko, continue to run around mobilizing funds that will be given to various constituencies. The party has after engaging the consultancy in the past told to start their candidates launch later than the BDP, precisely in July and the UDC is following the script to the letter. Next week the party will launch Gaborone Bonnington South candidate, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa.
The UDC for now through Boko, will continue with their last elections formula of sourcing funds from international community to assist wresting the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) out of power. Already the party has agreed on centralising sourcing of fund with Boko as the face of the project.
The party says should they get assistance from the local businessmen it will compromise their governance post October should they win. “There are conditions from them, which is why even the BDP is failing to crack the whip because they were assisted by the same. And as the UDC we want to sanitize this country after October so we want to do so freely. We want to get rid of corruption and we don’t want to be compromised in situations when we ask someone to account for his wealth, No,” Boko reiterated in a press briefing held at BCP offices this week.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.