President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is reported to have convened a series of private meetings with some Members of Parliament (MPs) of his own Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) last week amid threats that they are set for new political homes, Weekendpost has been told.
The reports came after the president returned mid-air while enroute to Mozambique to attend e US-Africa summit in Maputo. Sources tell Weekendpost that the president was informed by his advisers and party strategists that he had to make his way back to Botswana to address defections of councilors predominantly from the Central District Council (CDC). 65 councilors were said to have been on their way out.
At the top of the plan Masisi and a newly assembled team aimed to counter attack any opposition’s efforts contacted the CDC chairperson Peter Williams not to read all the resignations as they could depict a party in a sorry state. This sources say, was duly implemented with Williams reading out a few number of resignations.
Apart from that the president in his two days of hibernation (between Tuesday and Thursday- last week) alleged to have been perturbed by the possibility of mass exodus and also made contact with some MPs. It appears there is no trust in the party, just like Masisi once said while launching Vice President Slumber Tsogwane that there are some members who are camouflaging.
“President organized a meeting with some of the legislators he feels are not loyal to the party and him and pleaded with them to remain focused and put the party interest before theirs. The template was the same no matter who you are. At least he met three of them while others were contacted via phone calls,” said a highly placed source on Wednesday afternoon.
It is said the meeting were highly secretive and very private that the candidates were told to keep it to themselves lest it depict the party in crisis mode. “These meetings occurred in a very private setup in a very secretive place. You can go ask those MPs you will come with zero because they were briefed. The idea is to protect the BDP brand as well as Masisi’s name because if it could be public it might show like they are weak or something,” added a source in an interview.
Top of the names said to have met the president is that of Jwaneng-Mabutsane parliamentary hopeful Mephato Reatile, Philip Makgelemele, Moisaraele Goya and two undisclosed members. Reatile was brought back to parliament by former president Ian Khama and he is not trusted by the current administration that he might defect to any of the opposition party precisely Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
In fact it is said, he has disclosed to some of his close allies that he is ‘neglected and would not mind leaving the BDP’. Contacted on the matter he said this; “I would tell if at all we met. But I was in Mabutsane and Sekoma last weekend and I never received any call from him or his officials,” he said in an interview on Thursday morning.
Reports continue to say that at the meeting Masisi assured them that there is no how he is going to drop them in cabinet like the detractors want to say. “Initially they were six cabinet members who were supposed to be dropped. But the two (Makgelemele and Goya) were saved by Mma Atsile (First lady) who lobbied that they be left of which Masisi agreed to. So the two are still not in good standing with the president because they feel if it was not of the first lady they could be backbenchers,” says a source.
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.