President Mokgweetsi Masisi is reportedly considering appointing his former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race rival, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi back to cabinet, as he tries to mend relations after a campaign which left the party polarised.
Masisi who appointed Venson-Moitoi Minister of Local Government and Rural Development after becoming president last year, dropped her from cabinet few days after the latter announced her intention to contest for presidency of the ruling party. During his victory speech after his triumph in Kang, Masisi has indicated this desire to meet with Venson- Moitoi who had withdrawn from the presidential race on the eleventh hour citing ill treatment and abuse from Masisi’s faction.
On Monday 8th April President Mokgweetsi Masisi met with her counterpart Venson- Moitoi at a private meeting held at Office of the President. It is alleged that in that meeting Venson-Moitoi had suggested that if indeed Masisi wants to unite the party he should withdraw charges against some councillors who attended the Serowe elders meeting which was organised by Tati East legislator Samson Moyo Guma.
The 30 councillors were charged alongside Lerala-Maunatlala Member of Parliament Prince Maele, Tati West Member of Parliament Biggie Butale as well as Samson Moyo Guma making the tally 33. President Masisi reportedly declined Venson-Moitoi’s proposal, a move that enraged her. However when contacted for comment this week Venson-Moitoi refused to shed any light about the details from their meeting. “I was called by an elder and the meeting was private so I will not comment on that”, she said.
She indicated that now that that chapter is closed she is willing to work for the party and do not know about her political future yet. Venson-Moitoi also refused to answer reports that Masisi is considering bringing her back to cabinet.After dropping Venson-Moitoi from cabinet, Masisi then appointed Frans Solomon Van Der Westhuizen Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and Konstantinos Markus as the Assistant Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security with immediate effect.
At the time former president Khama was of the view that the decision to drop Venson-Moitoi was taken out of anger. During her campaigns which were led by Guma, Khama had declared his support for Venson- Moitoi and also helped during the campaigns building up to Kang Congress. A stalwart of BDP and one of the longest Ministers who served, Venson- Moitoi is regarded as a party elder who could help unify the party which is currently riddled by factions.,
Venson-Moitoi is the joint longest serving Member of Parliament, alongside Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. Close sources say Masisi needs Venson- Moitoi’s support and blessings going into the general elections which might be in October this year. Having pronounced that she will not be coming back after the general elections if appointed Moitoi will only serve five months in office.
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.