Former Presidents Festus Mogae and Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama are yet to make their minds known as to whether they will join the Association of Former Members of Botswana Parliament or not, WeekendPost has established.
The idea to have this association has long been harbored in the early 90’s with Ray Molomo facilitating its formation. However, the idea became moribund when he was elected the Speaker of the National Assembly in 1999. This time around there is no turning back as the association was duly registered on the 24th of September and subsequently holding its first AGM on the 13th of last month. By far the association has managed to recruit 84 former legislators who have in principle shown interest to join the association.
However, missing from this number are former Presidents- Mogae and Khama. “When we assembled for our first AGM they were both out of the country,” association Secretary Shirley Segokgo said. “I then reached out to their offices and they requested a formal write-up about the association which will be availed, remember these are former presidents,” she emphasized.Other MPs nonetheless were contacted via calls and text messages and managed to come and even show interest in being part of the association.
Segokgo says they have decided that the rank and file of the association visit the two leaders and take them through the association mandate and its importance in the country. “Batho ba ke bagolo kana, so we will have to delegate some members to go meet them about this especially Khama, because he just became the former recently. Mogae and the departed Sir Ketumile Masire long knew about this in 2016 and they welcomed the development but still we will have to engage him formally,” Segokgo said on Thursday morning.
It is highly likely that old guards like Archibald Mogwe and Dr Gaositwe Chiepe will be part of the team to meet the duo. For his part Khama said he is not aware of the association. “I have not been formally told about it. Besides I don’t know the procedure as to who should approach who between them and I, should they send me an invite or I should just go because, before I became a President I was an MP,” he said on Thursday afternoon.
The association has already got blessings from President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi who through his recognition invited them to his maiden State of The Nation Address (SONA) at the beginning of this month. Other countries like Kenya, Canada and Australia have long formed these associations and are recognized by the law-the local association wants the same. “We are still depending on national assembly for assistance and we are hopeful that one day we will get to the level of these countries,” Segokgo pointed out.
The decision to form this association is for the members to contribute meaningfully to the decision taken on behalf of the nation by playing an advisory role. The objective is to see each and every former Member of Parliament joining, regardless of the party they represented during their term. To show seriousness, an executive board has been elected with Ray Molomo being the Chairperson and David Magang assisting him. Segokgo is the Secretary with Duke Lefhoko as the Deputy; Isaac Mabiletsa is the Treasure while Phandu Skelemani and Filbert Nagafela are Additional Members.
The association is still struggling financially and bonafide members will have to pay subscription fees for the upkeep of the association. Segokgo has pleaded with other members to come forth and join the association. Challenges however remain funds as others who are interested to join cannot afford to transport themselves to the meetings.
“We have challenges as you know former MPs re badiidi [former MPs are destitutites] so even when we try to recruit more, they will show interest but it is hard for them to come all the way for the meetings especially when they are from far places,” Magang highlighted. Past legislator and deputy speaker of the national assembly Pono Moatlhodi has hailed the association.
“It is very important to have this association because as former legislators we are poor; there is no pension or any benefits. When you lose elections you are thrown out and forgotten but as former MPs we are lifetime members of the commonwealth parliamentary forum,” he said while admitting that he has not attended single meeting of the association.
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.