The candidature of ex Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU) leader Ketlhalefile Motshegwa to represent the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in Gaborone Bonnignton South has opened a can of worms.
Some long time serving members of the Botswana National Front (BNF), an affiliate of UDC, have already lodged letters of protest to the party politburo expressing their unhappiness about standing of the unionist in the area. One such is tried and tested BNF cadre Moses Bantsi who was eyeing the constituency in the upcoming 2019 General Elections.
In a letter dated 21st March 2019 directed to the BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, a copy of which has been passed to Weekend Post, Bantsi stated that he has been a victim of push over – from standing for the UDC in his constituency – by some party leadership. “I have personally endured this bully behaviour in Gaborone Bonnington South Constituency Committee meetings and in my interaction with Party employees in the Party Office” adding that “this has been manifested in the manner in which party SG Mohwasa handled the allocation of Gaborone Bonnington South Constituency to BOFEPUSU after his lackeys failed to get him endorsed for that seat.”
He further explained that “it is common knowledge that the constituency committee debated the matter at length and resolved to have me declared the unopposed Party candidate for that constituency.” The BNF stalwart added that it is also common knowledge that the constituency committee informed the Secretary General of its wish and that in a blatant example of abuse of office as he barred the constituency from going any further with their plan until the UDC had resolved the matter.
According to Bantsi, interestingly enough, other constituency in similar circumstances were allowed to continue with their plans without interference. He also stated that the Secretary General’s preference is to work with only those that he perceives as loyal to him, who are prepared to engage in gangster tactics to harass and drive out his perceived opponents.
Resignation: National Election Board
On the same letter Bantsi also informed the party of his resignation from the party Election board. “It is with deep regret that I inform you of my resignation from the BNF Election Board with immediate effect. This has not been an easy decision for me, but I trust that perusal of the circumstances outlined herein will enable you to understand my situation,” he said. He added that his reasons for leaving lie squarely at the door step of none other than the party esteemed Secretary General.
“The SG tendency to treat the party as a personal fiefdom in which him and him alone calls the shots and makes all decisions. Serving on the Elections Board, I have often struggled with my conscience to do things and make decisions that were not in the best interest of the Party, but rather which were in line with wishes of the Secretary General. It pains me that such dictatorial tendencies are not limited to BNF, but extend to UDC matters as well,” he stated.
On his part, when approached for a comment, Mohwasa refused to comment on the said letter and as a result denied receiving the letter but went on to justify the candidacy of the union leader at great lengths. “This shows that as UDC we take workers seriously and where possible we engage them. So there is nothing abnormal about involving workers in our constituencies so that they can speak their issues better. We want them to speak for themselves hence why we fielded Motshegwa in Gaborone Bonnington South,” he explained.
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.