Veteran politician and former Member of Parliament for Molepolole South, Daniel Kwelagobe has made a disparate plea to his fellow party members within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to be united ahead of next year’s general elections.
Speaking during a star rally to welcome new members into the party in Tonota, Kwelagobe admitted that of late peace has been eluding the ruling party.Soon after Lt Gen Ian Khama left office, cracks started emerging between him and his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi.The fallout played out in public, with observers indicating that the stand-off may cost the ruling party elections in next year’s polls.During his maiden State of the Nation Address, Masisi told the nation that the transition from the previous administration has not been as smooth as expected.
In an unexpected turn of events, Masisi indicated that in his attempt to smoothen the process, he engaged senior citizens such as former president Festus Mogae and others to assist and lead in smothering the transition but his efforts have not borne fruit up to now. “We want to see peace prevailing in our beloved party. There are some people who are bringing instability within BDP, we should not tolerate such people,” the former BDP chairman disclosed.DK as he is popularly known in political cycles stated that unlike other political parties, BDP has the capability to resolve its internal squabbles amicably.
“The founding president of BDP, the late Sir Seretse Khama once gave a powerful speech during our elective congress in 1971, which was held in Francistown. Seretse’s message was about peace within the party,” Kwelagobe recalled amid ululations from the crowd. Kwelagobe, once the party’s most influential figure had spent over 40 years as a member of the Central Committee of which, 27 years he was the secretary general.
Kwelagobe is also the longest serving and youngest person ever to be elected a legislator and to serve in the cabinet. He was first elected MP in 1969, serving under four presidents in the process, becoming the only BDP member to achieve that feat. DK bowed out of the BDP Central Committee at Tonota Congress in 2017, but has been a close to the party developments since Masisi ascended to the presidency. The party stalwart reiterated that the party should introspect ahead of next year’s general elections for it to remain in power.
Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane echoed Kwelagobe’s sentiments. Tsogwane who is also party Chairman, lamented that BDP performed dismally in 2014 general elections due to internal squabbles.The party amassed a paltry 47% popular vote, the worst in its history. “In the build up to the 2014 general elections our party was marred by internal fights which led to some Members of Parliament defecting to the opposition and that really hit us hard,” Tsogwane told multitudes of BDP members who attended the political gathering.The Vice President explained that if the BDP continues to be marred by internal instability, it will lose voters good will as Batswana do not trust political parties surrounded by internal differences.
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.