Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama is ensnared in a dicey situation of whether to pursue a long hatched plan of forming a new political party or starts a fresh political movement that will endorse and support candidates he favours in various constituencies.
Khama for long time has not shied away from revealing plans of a new party. This follows the ongoing animosity between him and the sitting President Mokgweetsi Masisi. However, recommendations by the engaged South African consultancy firm has advised him not to form a party saying: ”Khama cannot lead a new party in case he is accused of plotting what one Minister, Unity Dow referred to as a Putin strategy to return to power.” The research findings further posited that with only six months to elections a new party will need to be organised and resourced to make impact in the elections.
In addition it said, it is unclear whether the new party will be part of coalition or go it alone. “For the party to be of significant force it will have to rely on BDP members sympathetic to Khama to make a bulk of its leadership and rank and file. The viability of a new party will have to be studied in more depth,” the report indicated.
Initially Khama wanted to form a party despite the advice, but fresh information depicts a man who is now willing to follow the experts’ suggestion of resigning from the BDP but not form a new party. This is per the report’s advice that Khama can still resign from BDP and support opposition candidates well-disposed to him without him seeking return to office in the case of a change of government. “The new government and Khama will be a subject of negotiations and agreements before any commitments can be made.”
This report says all these are based on affection many Batswana have on Khama. “Footage of his community upliftment visits to communities show a man magnetism and is still able to rouse the crowds. It is unlikely his predecessors could retain the appeal Khama still does.” Informants from his camp this week told this publication that Khama together with the expelled BDP members including Prince Maele and Biggy Butale met with Pelonomi Moitoi last week on the matter of starting a new political movement. At the time of going to press the idea was known to the select few and yet to still be scrutinized before full implementation.
The idea of meeting with the expelled BDP members was to get their input on the matter and if at all it is viable. It is said Khama at the meeting apart from consoling the booted members also wanted to hear their deliberations on the project. “He was open he wanted to know what they think because he says either fate of a new party or anything lies on them as his duty will only be to facilitate what is already there and agreed. He will offer support to the candidates under his wing,” reveals a source.
It is added that: “The idea is not to form a new party because it will need more mobilisation and it will be exhausting considering that it is only few months before elections. So a movement endorsing preferred candidates around the country is the way to go this is as per the recommendation by the expert,” said a source close to the developments.
The movement if it sees the light of the day there is high possibility to be named a democratic movement which will be seeking to endorse candidates who “are hard-workers in their constituencies and promote democracy.” This however it is said will be aimed at already selected and more to come candidates that the former president wants to see in parliament post October general elections.
Within the BDP MPs it is said Khama has Maele, Butale, Moiseraele Goya, Philip Makgelemele, Tshekedi Khama and in absentia Samson Moyo Guma. This it is said does not end there as already there are legislators who their allegiance is unknown but are disgruntled by Masisi’s stewardship- a factor which the Khama faction believe it will heavily cripple the BDP plans to retain power, should those members jump the ship.
Should the movement or party plan succeed, political observers say for the first time the party is likely to lose some of the seats currently under their stable and fail to win those under opposition ticket. The thought of the movement according to informants is two-fold; firstly not to have a permanent structure as Khama could return to BDP and to form a coalition government with opposition after the elections. “If we kill the magic number of 29 then it means there won’t be an outright winner after the elections.
And from there it is possible to negotiate governance with whoever is there but of course not the BDP, not with Masisi as the president, possibly we could gravitate towards the UDC or any opposition party that would have done well in the polls,” shared a highly placed informant. Contrary to what is being said, Khama according to informants will not necessarily quit the BDP for life but could be just for period of time until a point when Masisi is no longer its leader. Sources say there is no how Khama could leave the party formed by his parents and concede defeat just like that.
The movement is expected to be made up of disgruntled BDP members and independent candidates. The former president has called on a meeting at Serowe show grounds today; there is high possibility that he will disclose the plan of a new party or political movement in his home village. Khama’s crusade of endorsing anti-BDP candidates in some constituencies is well on track with the latest victim being Sefhare-Ramokgonami MP Dorcas Makgato who saw Khama ‘endorsing’ his opposition rival Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang.
It is expected that more of the BDP candidates especially in the central region will fall by the wayside due to ‘Khama magic’. Central region is Khama’s territory as paramount chief of Bangwato and he commands a large following there, something that observers say could work against his own 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.