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.
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.