The 15 members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) who formed President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s escort were recalled from their different units at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) to join the Ground Forces Command (GFC).
As the law dictates, the former President is not entitled to members of the military when he leaves office but they do beef up his security which comprises of members of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and Botswana Police Services. When he left office the said noncommissioned officers with ranks ranging from Lance Corporal to Major all reported to their units back at SSKB. Some of them were part of the ceremonial guard unit within the BDF while others such as Captain Kabelo Samuel was seconded at the military headquarters under the Human Resources Department at SSKB.
Some of them were from the brigade military unit. A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of three to six battalions plus supporting elements. The development has however left some believing that it is an effort to further humiliate and embarrass all Khama’s associates by the current administration. A source close to the developments told WeekendPost that the former presidential guard unit is not wanted near the current head of state.
It is not yet clear whether the decision to transfer them is in accordance with BDF act or the reasons are solely personal. Also included on the transfer list is former President Khama’s Aide-De-Camp (ADC) Maj Gabosekwe. Since he left office on 1st April 2018, the relationship between Khama and his successor Masisi has been an adversarial. The two men who enjoyed cordial working relations when the later was still in power got involved in a feud that that saw them exchanging words in both local and international media and public gatherings.
Their fallout also led to all the people who are believed to be associated with the former president being frustrated or removed from positions of power. Such example include former DIS chief, Col Isaac Kgosi who was fired a few weeks after Masisi ascended to the presidency. Khama’s young brother Tshekedi Khama also suffered the same fate when he was removed from the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, where it is believed that the Khama family had vested interest in the sector.
Tshekedi has since been transferred to Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. The recent victim is Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General Bruno Paledi who was appointed by Khama prior to his retirement. Paledi was transferred with immediate effect to the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security as the secretary of Defence. When responding to a questionnaire from WeekendPost Director, Protocol and Public Affairs BDF Headquarters Colonel Tebo Dikole said matters relating to BDF’s transfers are purely internal and administrative, and as such cannot be discussed with any third party, including the media.
“Albeit, it is worth noting that the Commander is endowed with the powers to Command the Defence Force and may take administrative and operational decisions, including deployment of members in the exercise of such powers, as may be necessary for the proper functioning of the Defence Force as provided for under section 9 and 29 (b) of the BDF Act”, Dikole responded. Dikole said transfers occur in any establishment to include the BDF and can never be deemed as demotion. “It is also worth noting that BDF transfers do not hinge on nay external occurrences as you allege to be the case”.
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.