A South African based consultancy firm (name known to this publication) is carrying out a clandestine research on the ongoing hostility between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama.
The research began two months ago and it is expected to be finished by the end of March, with the “findings and recommendations forwarded to the relevant stakeholders.” WeekendPost sources disclose that the research is financed mostly by Khama’s business allies who have developed interest in the ongoing animosity since the end results could leave them with unimaginable repercussions. This publication has also established that the engaged firm was also tasked with facilitating Khama’s media engagement in South Africa last week while en route to India to meet Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
The study according to impeccable sources is focused on four key areas; offering political intelligence to Khama and aligned members, possibilities of forming a new party, viability of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) independent candidates surviving outside the party, and lastly uniting BDP after elections.
It is said when the organisation first examined the party situation late last year, they predicted BDP going to the general elections polarised with a number of its members contesting as Independent candidates. This study then increased its scope to examine if it will be possible for those who have been suspended or expelled from the party to win their seats if they contest as independent candidates. Last weekend Ghanzi region assembled for their regional congress where unlike other regions failed to reach a consensus in endorsing Masisi as president going to the Kang elections.
“This is what the other guys are banking on and they knew about this. This shows that there is a possibility of rise in number of independent candidates from the party. Most of them are likely to dump the party if at all Masisi is imposed on them and they [members] have a plan hence they have approached Khama for assistance in case they leave the party,” a source told this publication.
Already the party has issued letters to 30 members including councillors and Central Committee members to show cause why they should not be suspended or even expelled from the party. This is the aftermath of last month’s Serowe meeting which was called by the party regional ‘elders’ apparently to seek an explanation on factors that led to the nomination of Masisi instead of Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi as party presidential candidate. The party deemed the meeting unconstitutional hence the disciplinary hearings.
The research will advise whether it will be possible for those facing expulsion to go all the way to their parliamentary and council seats as Mekoko. “Tati East legislator who is also a BDP Secretary General candidate Guma Moyo has been earmarked to coordinate all other prospective independent candidates before the elections with Khama anticipated to give them both moral and financial support,” a source told this publication.
“It is expected that a number of MPs will resign and join forces with those that lost the primary elections who are feeling hard-done by the leadership for not listening to their laments for re-runs,” added the informant. The thought of forming a new party is still much held by Masisi’s antagonist within the party and it seems possible should researchers give it a thumb up in their recommendations.
In the past Khama confirmed to this publication that he is aware of the new party that is allegedly being formed by some disgruntled members of the ruling party but he would not divulge much information. “I have heard of a number of things in the offering, but the formation of a new party is not something unusual. I can confirm, it’s been a while rumours of a new party making rounds but we are now at a stage where we have passed rumours but it is something credible now,” said Khama.
The former president also said he is not aware of the people behind the formation of the party, but indicated that should they approach him for support, they will have to convince him to join. “If they give me an opportunity, I will have to weigh my options. I am a very loyal person but that is not to say I wouldn’t move but I have to be convinced,” said Khama. He said if he does not agree with the recent BDP policies, he has to reconsider his future. Khama, who is of the view that he is being sabotaged by the current regime, said this is not the first time such things happen.
The ongoing study further seeks to establish if it will be possible to unite the party after the general elections slated for October. While many observers are of the view that the BDP will be divided after the elections, the research is expected to come with better ways on how to resuscitate the party thereafter. This, however, would only be carried if Venson-Moitoi emerges victorious in the party presidential elections in Kang on the 5th of April 2019.
“If Venson-Moitoi loses, the plan will have to change and some BDP MPs and councillors will have to resign and join forces with opposition party possibly to form a coalition government. But if she wins then the research recommendations on uniting the BDP will be implemented,” highlighted a highly placed source.
For now Khama is said to have made it clear that he is still awaiting the research findings and recommendations before he can commit. “He has not made any official stance on this because he says he want to appraise himself with the details of the study. He emphasized that he is not available for now but he will see what kind of assistance they need,” summarised WeekendPost source this week.
INTERNATIONAL MEDDLERS REVEALED
While the feud has been described as a party affair or a two man show, it has now escalated to the international level. Khama is reportedly enjoying a support from South African government. “He has backing that side (South Africa), that is why he was even accorded protocol by their government despite Botswana government having made it clear even to Botswana embassy there not to avail protocol to him but the SA government went against that,” highlighted a source this week.
It is also indicated that the Western countries are rallying behind Khama, with their interest solely on tourism and mining sector. It is said Khama just like the Europeans is irked by a looming global dominance by China which threatens Western control on African countries. On the other hand President Masisi is enjoying backing from the Chinese and Indians, sources say. Under his reign, Botswana is expected to make a number of economic relations with the Chinese.
Already China in addition has offered Botswana a loan and a debt cancellation of 80 million pula, China has also offered a 340 million pula ($31 million) grant. The bulk of the loan is expected to fund the Mosetse-Kazungula railway line project, which will link the central part of Botswana to the tourism hub in the northwest.
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.