The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament (MPs) have suggested to the party Central Committee that the much awaited party’s presidential elections date be re-considered as it clashes with National Assembly business.
According to the party communique, the elections which will pit the incumbent Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi against long time cabinet minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is billed for the 5th of April 2019 in Kang village. However party MPs believe it is a date which was decided without considering commitments and other activities during that period. Some MPs are concerned that on the first day of congress, parliament proceedings will be on, therefore creating dilemma for legislators.
The MPs, who form part of voting delegates want the date postponed to another suitable day so that they could be accommodated. On the 5th of April, the party special congress will meet specifically to elect party president, without any agenda. “This is the same day where nominations will be made, should it come to the fore that more than one name is nominated, elections will then be called to elect the party president,” BDP acting Executive Secretary Lesedi Dintwe told WeekendPost.
MPs argue that there is a possibility of missing the first day of the congress. The congress will be followed by the annual National Council. Already some legislators are reading malice on the dates set saying it was done intentionally so that MPs who support Venson-Moitoi could be sidelined in making their voices heard through a ballot. Apart from the date the MPs lament that Kang is also far suggesting that if it was in Gaborone or any central point it would become easier for them to attend.
“For now the leadership is aware that Venson-Moitoi has a number of legislators rallying behind her while the incumbent has few in the national assembly, and we are made to believe that those dissenting voices are now oppressed to score political goals,” said one concerned MP after telling party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane about the matter on Tuesday. It appears President Masisi has strong base in the regions with most of them having endorsed him for party leadership.
On the other hand Venson-Moitoi, who is believed to be sponsored by former President Lt Gen Ian Khama is said to have a grip in parliament as most of her colleagues sympathize with her following the ejection from cabinet. The legislators say there is no how they could miss parliament session as they are mandated by the electorates and the constitution to draft laws and therefore cannot compromise for party affairs.
“There is no how we can miss parliament on that day because of party business. Parliament is gazetted not party meeting. So what should happen is that the party should adjust the date so that we can also be there without trampling in any of our duties,” legislators are said to have unanimously told party chairman Tsogwane according to sources.
While the CC assured the legislators that they will consider their suggestion, it is apparent that the meeting will go on as planned. “We are expecting at least 1500 delegates including MPs and the quorum could be formed by about 800 delegates and this means the special congress can still go on with those numbers. I don’t want to be drawn as to whether with or without the MPs,” Dintwe said. The historic special congress will be held at Matsha College in Kang with Khama having been invited as a dignitary.
BDP REGIONS ENDORSE MASISI
Meanwhile BDP Central Committee meeting held this week aimed at giving report cards from the regions left Masisi smiling as most regions opted for him over his rival Venson-Moitoi. The North West Region and BOMASE region are the latest to endorse him for party presidency. This follows other endorsements by South Western, South East and Central regions who all have held their regional congresses. More regions are still expected to hold their regional congresses before April. BDP has 14 regions across the country.
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.