Officially the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has not started the process of replacing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) candidates at constituency and local levels. When the negotiations were concluded the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) was allocated 17 constituencies while UDC took 40 seats.
Currently there are 13 constituencies under BMD. These are Lobatse, Moshupa-Manyana, Mmopane-Lentsweletau, Gabane-Mmankgodi, Molepolole South, Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Bonnington South, Kgatleng West, Boteti East, Lerala-Maunatlala, Francistown South, and Serowe South.
Following a decision to expel the BMD from the UDC subject to appeal, a debate has ensued as what is next in relation to constituencies held by the rebel party. Some within the UDC are encouraging that the UDC leader consider courting the BMD break away party, Alliance for Progressives (AP) while others want the Botswana National Front and the BCP to take the constituencies and field their own candidates.
Although UDC has not started discussing the re-allocation of these constituencies, inside sources are of the view that in the event that BMD fails to appeal its expulsion by November 18 2018, a serious process of searching for replacement candidates will ensue. Meanwhile the awaited BMD appeal has not stopped members of the contracting parties from engaging over possible candidates. Names of potential candidates mainly from the BNF side have found their way in the print media already. This has triggered swift action from other contracting parties.
Some within the UDC coalition speculate that without proper guidance this has the potential to cause unhealthy disagreements, especially between the BNF and the BCP. “Before we could start talking about possible names there should be laid down principles to determine replacements,” said one of the UDC leaders who preferred anonymity.
A close assessment of the current crop of candidates shows that UDC has regressed drastically on the gender dimension. So far both the BCP and BNF don’t have women candidates for 2019 General Elections. As a self-proclaimed progressive revolutionary organization, pundits point out that the UDC must address this dark spot in a very principled and decisive manner.
With Mariah Kusasa contesting for primary elections, the Botswana People’s Party (BPP), another contracting partner of the UDC, might have two women candidates out of four. Some in the BPP have commended the BPP for being progressive compared to other contracting parties. “Going forward gender must be factored in.”
The BCP which was seen as a pace setter in respect of issues of gender in political leadership positions has regressed too. This publication learns that some in the BCP hierarchy are determined to push for women representation in 2019 following the ejection of the BMD. WeekendPost has learnt of a Few names that are being tossed around as possible candidates including, Motsei Rapelana for Gaborone North; Daisy Bathusi for Boteti East/Mogoditshane; Elsie Alexander and Dr. Mpho Pheko for Gaborone Central; and Nono Kgafela-Mokoka for Mochudi West.
The UDC, like other political formations has also not fared well when it comes to people with disability – in fact the situation is more dismal hence those who want this aspect factored in see the name of Dennis Alexander topping the list for Gaborone Central. The BCP may push Vain Mamela, for Francistown South. Other potential deployees have been suggested especially from both the BNF and the BCP side.
Billy Sekgororoane’s name has been synonymous with Gaborone Central; G.G. Galebotswe the former BDF Commander is preferred to carry the UDC in Mogoditshane; while Nthusang Mozambia Dibe and Moreetsi Gomang, are linked with Gabane-Mmankgodi. Busang Manewe and Moeti Mohwasa are linked to Gaborone Bonnington South; Alfred Pilane, Isaac Mabiletsa and Tona Mooketsi are likely to be considered for Mochudi West; Benny Stegling and Ngaka Monagen are the potential candidates in Moshupa-Manyana; Elias Ranteru and Digga Kakoma are the Lobatse hopefuls; Olebogeng Gilbert Watshipi is available for Mmopane-Lentsweletau; and Montwedi Mokhurutshe may be assigned Lerala-Maunatlala.
Some officials from both parties have reasoned that since the idea is to identify the best candidates to wrestle constituencies from the BDP we must adapt and apply the African National Congress “The Eye of The Needle” in the selection process. They point out that party affiliation must not be the sole criteria in the selection exercise but rather it should only be used in so far as to ensure that there is equity.
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.