A labour centre in the country, Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU) has threatened the former President Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama and incumbent President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi to smoke a peace pipe before things turn ugly for the country.
Khama and Masisi are currently embroiled in a political dispute centered on rights and privileges of the former president and current president’s role as well as the selection of Vice president Slumber Tsogwane against Khama’s wish for his brother Tshekedi Khama to take over the role. Khama is an influential and powerful figure in Botswana as the son of founding president Sir Seretse Khama and a paramount chief of the most populous tribe or region in Bamangwato territory while Masisi is a son of former cabinet Minister Edison Masisi who served under Sir Seretse Khama administration.
The duo, Khama and Masisi’s fight has led to BOFEPUSU calling a press briefing this week to raise the red flag on the continue state of affairs in the country. When speaking to the media, BOFEPUSU President Johannes Tshukudu stated that the former president Khama is taking the attention of the head of state who must focus on the management of the country.
“As of now part of his attention is taken by the misunderstanding between him (Masisi) and Khama. There are many problems in bedeviling the country including lack of employment that the current president must be focused on than the fight between the two,” Tshukudu highlighted from the onset. He pointed out that it is important for BOFEPUSU to say the two gentlemen must find a better way to deal with their differences because at the end, if it is not managed properly it has the potential to escalate into a national crisis.
“We never had problems with the previous heads of states who were as a result given assignments both at regional and international levels in appreciating their wealth of experience in assisting giving peace in other countries,” he added. Tshukudu continued: “and as BOFEPUSU, we had thought that, by taking the backseat as former president, Khama, would resume all such assignments given to him by the current government and therefore when they are not relating well with the current president – it’s not going to function well so there is really a need of an urgent attention to this matter.”
According to the BOFEPUSU leader, the central issue to the fiasco is therefore that they feel strongly that both Khama and Masisi are not advised properly by those given with the responsibility of advising them because it is clear they are taking the issues beyond board. “And therefore our request is that the advisors might get to task with the assignment to make sure that they give appropriate, relevant and objective advice to help the two gentlemen to see the need to work together and share responsibilities of running this state without noninterference by the other.”
He went on to point out that they believe the advice they get from those advisors maybe did not predict what the consequences may be in future and on the people. He said if there is a necessity that, as a federation they intervene, they will do exactly that but will do once they see that the two leaders’ advisors have literally failed as they seem to be. Tshukudu said it’s important to note that any sour relationship between the former and the current head of state has the potential to destabilize the peace, tranquility and stability that this country is known of.
“Therefore when things turn like that we need to be worried as citizens and wonder what future holds for us if the two highest people are in conflict. It’s an indication that we might very soon join other African countries that found themselves in turmoil because of the differences between leadership.” According the trade unionist the country never had problems with the previous heads of states as is the case with Khama as a former president.
“It is still fresh in our minds that previously under President Khama’s administration there was also a dispute between him (Khama) and former Presidents Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae but Khama was too quick to remind them that their time to rule has elapsed and that he be given a chance as he never interfered in their presidencies. And that it was his time to rule.”
But since Mogae and Masire listened to him and obeyed, Khama should listen to Masisi as well, Tshukudu said adding that if Khama doesn’t listen this time around BOFEPUSU will remind him that Masisi is the one who is ruling at this point and “that time where we will tell him is slowly drawing nearer.”
Meanwhile the federation also emphasized that they will carry a thorough assessment of all political parties and candidates to see which ones to support for 2019 general Elections, similar to what they did in 2014, which they believe had a great impact in assisting UDC win the seats in Gaborone and by extension the south side of the country where their members are dispersed.
Tshukudu stressed: “we will peep into these political parties to see which ones suits our agenda in the protection of rights of workers and the spirit of trade unionism in Botswana. The assessment will then inform our next course of action. We will be mobilising people to vote against such parties and candidates. A vote is the only weapon at our disposal.”
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.