Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) and Minister for Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila has backtracked on his earlier decision to quit active politics after 2019 general elections, WeekendPost has learnt.
Mokaila after losing the 2014 general elections to UDC’s James Mathokgwane, Mokaila revealed that he would throw in the towel after his term as Special Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) elapses in 2019. Mokaila’s intentions were corroborated by his decision not to contest the Goodhope-Mabule constituency after it fell vacant in 2015, less than a year after general elections. Mokaila also did not participate in the party’s primary elections held last year, paving way for Eric Molale instead.
The 61 year old minister has for a long time been former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s right hand man and his favoured predecessor before losing the last elections. Insiders revealed that Khama had already informed Mokaila that he would appoint him as his Vice President after the general elections. The plan was nullified by Mokaila’s shocking defeat at the hands of James Mathokgwane of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Khama brought Mokaila back to parliament and cabinet after his loss in the general election through the Specially Elected Member of Parliament dispensation.
Now the former Goodhope/Mabule legislator has switched his allegiance to the incumbent, President Mokgweetsi Masisi. This publication’s moles have revealed that the jolly minister has shown interest to continue serving the country politically despite his pronunciations post 2014 elections. Few weeks ago, President Masisi, in a cabinet reshuffle replaced Tshekedi Khama, at Ministry of Tourism with Mokaila, a decision reportedly taken to curb the Khama family’s interests in the tourism sector.
However, many dismissed a re-shuffle decision as a non-starter because Mokaila also belongs to the Khama circle. Recent developments, according to sources, however prove a shift in alliances. “We see and we sit with him in meetings, he is clear that he will be available to assist, but remember that he declared himself not available after he lost elections. He is one of those that is pro the leadership even when things are not going well he will defend with everything available. This was enough sign that his allegiance has changed,” an informer told this publication.
While Mokaila is reported to have dismissed those suggestions, saying he is doing it for the party not any allegiances, some BDP members consider it a political gimmick. “He was even rewarded by a new ministry for pledging his loyalty to the current administration,” added a source. BDP members however say the minister endeavors to continue serving in cabinet. “That is the target and surely he will be rewarded. There are some who have made it a habit that they will never contest elections but still get ministerial posts,” highlighted the source.
When asked about this Mokaila who is currently on leave, laughed-off suggestions of change in alliances on his part. “Contact me on Monday when I will be in office,” he said before asking what the interview is about, “If it is about that you can only talk to me after elections this year, for now no comment. You can write whatever you want,” he hanged up prematurely. President Masisi will after the election assemble his cabinet and it will be influenced by those that came out victorious in the elections.
Masisi is also expected to reward those who have been loyal to his leadership during the transition period. There is a growing list of individuals who expect to be elected via the specially elected dispensation, which is likely to give Masisi a headache. The situation has not been helped by the fact a sizeable number of incumbent MPs loyal to Masisi lost in last year’s primary elections. Among those expected to be elected to parliament include Bogolo Kenenwendo, the youthful Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry. Kenewendo, who was elected SEMP in 2016 was expected to succeed Tsogwane in Boteti West, saw change of plans after the latter was appointed Vice President.
Another slot is reportedly reserved for Lt Gen Tebogo Masire, one of the chief advisors to President Masisi, while Mpho Balopi, if he loses his bid for Gaborone North constituency, is guaranteed a seat. Loyalists like Shaw Kgathi, who lost to Francisco Kgoboko in party primaries, are also lining themselves up for the SEMP slot.
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.