Former Alliance for Progressives (AP) Member of Parliament, Haskins Nkaigwa has explained that his defection from the newly formed AP back to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is due to the AP’s lack of interest in opposition unity.
Nkaigwa told Weekend Post this week that he is disheartened by AP’s un-visionary gesture. “From the actions of AP it is clear that there is no heart and desire to go to 2019 General Elections as a united opposition,” the Gaborone North legislator pointed out as his main reason for leaving the 3 year old party. The one time legislator reiterated that AP should “learn from our past to inform our future” particularly because “a divided opposition aide a continued rule by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).”
In 2014 the then 16 year old opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) was shunned at the polls following their resolution to stand for the elections as a single entity – divorced from a conglomerate of all other opposition parties including Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). The UDC performed better pocketing 17 constituencies while the best attained a paltry 3. This, Nkaigwa highlighted that therefore should be a chilling lesson to the AP.
There is already a school of thought that Batswana warm up to new political parties slowly and therefore that it will take time for the AP to really attain a fortune – making it more competitive – at the polls. Nkaigwa’s defection comes at a time when the two parties; UDC and AP have initiated the cooperation talks which are said to be bearing no fruits due to AP’s hard stance that UDC leaders have threw them under the bus politically and that the party (UDC) is tainted and that they no longer share the same values like honesty, integrity and the sanctity of life.
According to the former BMD of UDC lawmaker his defection, he said however that it is nothing personal but only a sign of respect for his constituents. “I am respecting the will and wishes of my constituents. The desire of my constituents is to have a united opposition. Nothing personal. I just re-joined the UDC that took me to parliament,” he stressed to this publication.
Nkaigwa emphasised they built the UDC and cannot just run away from it after laying the foundation while adding that pour personal differences and egos are denying Batswana a change of government as is happening with UDC and AP. “The BDP has been in power for so long and I can’t stomach another BDP governance. It really pains to see the opposition in war against itself,” the former city mayor of Gaborone under the UDC further pointed out.
The Christian inclined lawmaker furthermore explained that God has given him the wisdom leading to his defection while adding that the UDC project is from God and anything from God is bound to face trials and tribulations. “But we know at the end of it all victory shall be certain. Our God is a God of unity. Nothing is impossible with God. UDC needs our prayers to deliver Batswana from the BDP misrule,” Nkaigwa said.
According to the Gaborone North legislator, his decision seeks to unite his constituents in the area who were not happy with the lack of unity among opposition parties. He said: “I do apologise to all those who might have been aggrieved by my decision to re-join the UDC. I shall stand in the gap to ensure that we unite as the opposition towards this years’ elections. Rest assured I shall continue to serve my people diligently and continue to unite them towards a common goal of taking the BDP out of power.”
Meanwhile AP Secretary General Phenyo Butale confirmed Nkaigwa’s resignation from the party and wished him well. He stated in a press release: “this serves to inform the public and members of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) that we have received correspondence from Hon. Haskins Nkaigwa, the current Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, informing us of his decision to resign from our party.” Butale further highlighted on the communique dated 28 February 2019 that “on behalf of our party, I have accepted his resignation and take this opportunity to wish him well in all his future endeavours.”
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.