The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) elective congress scheduled for next year continues to take twists and turns with the position of secretary general, currently occupied by Mpho Balopi, dominating the jostling and posturing.
With indications that Balopi is becoming unpopular by the day, especially after the controversial primary elections that were marred by alleged irregularities and poor handling of appeals, some BDP members are searching for candidates who could replace the Gaborone North parliamentary candidate from Tsholetsa house.
A group that was known to be pro-Balopi in the 2017 congress is said to have approached former secretary general, Jacob Nkate to come and take the party into the 2019 general election. In fact the group wants to convince Balopi not to contest for the position when the party goes for an elective congress next year.
Balopi who is in the running, is aware of the maneuvers of Samson Guma Moyo who is said to have declared his interest in contesting for the position of secretary general. Another party member who is interested in becoming the secretary general of the BDP is former Palapye legislator, Boyce Sebetela who it emerged last week that he has made contact with some key party foot soldiers on the subject.
However there is still developments taking place within the party following the decision of the central committee to postpone the Youth Wing congress which was scheduled for next year. This week it also emerged that the Women’s Wing has also written a letter to the central committee requesting that their congress be postponed. The postponement of these congresses have made some in the party to think that there could be a calculated strategy to avoid an elective BDP congress next year.
With so much tension in the party, those who intend to have Balopi removed as the secretary general next year claim that there could be a plot to propose a compromise at the congress which will ensure that he continues as the secretary general. Balopi is contesting to become Member of Parliament in Gaborone North and many in the BDP believe that he will find to retain the position of secretary general because it gives him leverage in his constituency campaigns and unlimited access to the President of the party Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi.
Meanwhile Nkate is seen as an experienced hand who can help the party reunite and focus on winning 2019 convincingly but those on the other corner are convinced that he has no numbers. After he had proclaimed his intentions to become the President of the country by challenging Masisi, Nkate appears to have shelved his ambitions and of late he is fighting on the President’s corner.
Balopi’s ascendance to the secretary general position hinged on him being on the Masisi camp and having the backing of the then President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama. There was a failed plan to replace Balopi with Nkate in 2017 but Khama advised Balopi not to give way to Nkate back then.
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.