Following President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decisions to transfer some of his ministers to new portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle this week, the, Tshekedi Khama has stated that he was happier at the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism than where the president wants him.
Masisi transferred Khama to Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development in a move seen as a demotion on the younger brother to the former president Lt. Gen Ian Khama. The animosity between Masisi and Khama has played itself out in the open with both of them admitting to it in their separate pronouncements starting with Masisi confirming in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) which Khama also did in his loaded response to the insinuations.
The removal of Tshekedi Khama from the Ministry of Tourism which is seen as one of the most powerful ministries in the country as it contributes to the country’s revenue as the second biggest income earner after the diamonds. When speaking to Weekend Post after the reshuffle on Friday, the younger Khama maintained that: “I believe my passion was at the tourism ministry and it was unmatched. Surely we were growing something there. Our reputation under tourism as a country has never been where it is. So the reshuffle surely affected me.”
According to Tshekedi, he still believes, “if I was allowed to stay a bit longer at the ministry, until the next 2019 General Elections I would be happy. We were going to finish our roadmap which we have started six years back.” He said while he respects the decision by President Masisi, it was unexpected as he thought he was doing a good job at the ministry. He acknowledged that the President can move ministers as and when he wants.
“I thought what we have done in the tourism ministry in the last six years or so has never been achieved by anyone before in the country,” he said. According to Tshekedi, under his tutelage they have accomplished 38 awards as “I gave it my all” and “I loved the ministry and people were also happy.”
TSHEKEDI REMOVED BECAUSE OF KHAMAS VESTED INTERESTS IN TOURISM?
When asked by this publication whether he is unhappy with the transfer because of his vested interests in the tourism sector he easily rubbed it off. “I have no shares in any tourism entity. There are some cabinet ministers who have interests there. Nna I don’t. That they have is their choices. As long as you declare when you are conflicted,” the Serowe West legislator fumed. Tshekedi declined to comment when quizzed if he does not see this as demotion from a powerful ministry to a lesser authoritative one and whether that signals his relationship with Masisi may be on a downward spiral.
He only said: “I don’t know Masisi’s reasons for this cabinet transfers. But it doesn’t matter. For me, that’s not demotion as some people want to suggest.” When pressed further on Masisi he emphasised: “I won’t comment on the issue of Masisi targeting me in the reshuffle. Tota nna and Masisi, we never had any dispute or argument on anything. So, I think people who are peddling these are doing so purely based on politics.”The main challenge for Tshekedi as pointed out is that of time factor as they only have nine months to the next elections and that is not a lot of time.
He added that he also takes over the ministry with the budget that is not his. On his new assignment at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi observed that he takes the challenge. “I take the challenge to the new ministry. Botswana is relatively a youth country as the population of youth under 25 years is approximately 60 percent and that’s where power is. It’s a challenge that the population which makes the majority remain unemployed. Youth want to be independent and they don’t want to live with handouts,” he lashed out. He also asserted that his position on youth has always been that youth should be involved in development as they are the future of a country.
OLOPENG TO PULL THE BULL BY THE HORNS AT THE NEW MINISTRY OF TERTIARY
On his part, the outgoing Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng told Weekend Post separately that as the new Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology he will be merely a leader and not a lecturer at those institutions he will be heading as naysayers want to purport.
He dismissed his critics saying they should take a seat: “we need to understand what leadership is. I won’t be a lecturer at any university but a minister, we have permanent Secretaries and their deputies, Directors and lecturers who are well qualified to do the hands on.” Olopeng emphasised that his Permanent Secretaries are the crucial technocrats that will make sure that they deliver on their mandate.
He said: “I understand the challenges. I know both the two Education ministries are challenging but I know I will make it. I will work hard to make a difference at the ministry. The first thing is to understand the challenges. And how to mitigate them. I will consult. The technocrats will do the technical work and I will facilitate.” The new Tertiary minister further took a swipe at those that doubt his capabilities at the ministry saying he is unqualified when asked by this reporter saying they will eat a humble pie.
Let them judge me, he says adding that if they are honest with themselves they should give him three months to show them the results of the direction he wants to give to the ministry. “People say all these things on social media like facebook because it’s where everything goes. Let them judge me. They should give me three months and surely they will eat a humble pie. Ga ke batle go ipoka. I believe in tangible results. I will humble those naysayers with the amount of exposure I have in leadership.”
Apart from Tshekedi and Olopeng, Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi also announced that other cabinet transfers made by President Masisi includes the Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila who has been transferred to head the Minister of Environment , Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism filling the shoes of Tshekedi Khama.
Minister of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs, Dorcas Makgato takes over the Minister of Transport and Communications from Mokaila. Masisi also redeployed the former Minister of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology Honourable Ngaka Ngaka to become the new Minister of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs which was previously under Makgato. Masisi has made the redeployments to take effect immediately.
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.