Bangwato regent Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane has dismissed allegations levelled against him by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural development after he was accused of using Serowe Kgotla for political expediency.
Confidential documents seen by WeekendPost reveal that the letters written to Kgosi Kgamane addressed as Motshwarelela Bogosi Jwa Ga Mmangwato were a directive from the Office of the President (OP). The letter, dated 31st December 2018, was authored by ex-president Lt Gen Ian Khama’s former Senior Private Secretary, Col Duke Masilo, now Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and copied to Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.
Addressed through Director, Tribal Administration, the letter read in part, insinuate that the turnout at Serowe Main Kgotla on 23rd December 2018 on what was purportedly a Christmas party turned out to be a political meeting at which the former president Lt Gen Ian Khama used the opportunity to attack and castigate the integrity and leadership of President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The letter continues to say Khama further used the Kgotla to ridicule and express his personal disparaging opinion about president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.
“In addition to that, the former President also openly and with intention to cast aspersion on the judgement of his Excellency to relief the former Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of her duties, rallied support for Venson- Moitoi,” reads part of the letter. The letter suggested that at the same gathering, Venson- Moitoi publicly criticized the decision by president Masisi to drop her from Cabinet and used the platform to solicit for votes in her Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential bid.
The same letter also made reference to an incident that happened at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018, where Member of Parliament for the area, Prince Maele is alleged to have incited people when proclaiming to stand by former president in his vote of thanks remarks. It said what happened at Serowe main Kgotla, was a repeat and it is totally undesirable.
“You are therefore directed to desist and refrain forthwith from allowing anyone to use any Kgotla for political expediency. In light of the foregoing, you are requested to provide and explanation of the turn of events on the 23rd December 2018 at Serowe Kgotla soonest but not later than 10th January 2019,” Masilo instructed. In his response Kgosi Kgamane said to his best recall, he did not hear Khama attacking and castigating the integrity and leadership of President Masisi.
“In the same vein I am not aware of Hon Dr Venson- Moitoi soliciting for votes to the presidency race at Botswana Democratic Party,” wrote Kgamane. Kgamane said in relation to the President of the US, the former president Khama indicated that he did not like his leadership in relation to abuse of human rights. “Utterance by Hon Prince Maele at Moremi Kgotla on 16th November 2018 is also news to me,” said Kgamane. In a telephone interview, Khama said he did not see the letter authored to Kgamane, but indicated that what is alleged in the letter is totally inaccurate.
He said they [OP] can go and get the recordings to inform themselves better of what transpired at the Serowe Kgotla. “I personally have addressed many Kgotla meetings across the country and I know what is appropriate to say in a Kgotla meeting. I therefore reject any attempts by newcomers telling me what to say at a Kgotla,” said Khama. The former President said as a nation Botswana continue to experience an erosion in its democracy. He said Botswana’s democracy is centred on a Kgotla system and nobody understands it better than him.
Khama said as things stands now there is no freedom of speech in the country and people are held accountable for what they say during Kgotla meetings. Moremi Kgosi was also summoned to write a report entailing what happened during Maele’s Kgotla meeting in question. It is understood that Kgosi Days refused to write the letter alleging that the meeting was just a normal Kgotla meeting and nothing peculiar or sinister occurred.
After the kgotla the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation led by Dr Unity Dow had expressed concern over the remarks made by former President Khama about the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. The Ministry stated that it was wrong for Khama to use the Kgotla to make political pronouncements.
However in response, Khama indicated that, “whilst I acknowledge the mandate of the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation to promote and maintain good relations with other countries, however, during my term in office I was prepared to, and indeed I did criticize poor governance displayed by those leaders and governments of other countries who violated those principles anchored on democracy and human rights around the world even if they did not like our doing so.”
He pointed out that the Ministry is free to abandon those principles and ignore Donald Trump's present and past disrespectful tendencies which he clearly displayed in the manner some time ago, in the way he referred to countries in Africa. “I am proud that when I was President, Botswana was one of those that criticised him over those insulting and racist remarks.
I did not then, nor will I now shy away from confronting the likes of him as he continues every day to display unacceptable behavior in dividing people based on color, religion, ethnicity or in any way.” Khama further said: “at no time did I claim in my remarks about Trump that I represented the Botswana Government nor do I wish to. Mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe.
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.