Leader of Opposition in parliament and president of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Gideon Boko has finally sent the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) to the backwoods of opposition politics.
Boko said he took the decision to expel the BMD together with the leadership of other affiliate parties Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). BMD has been given 30 days to appeal to the UDC national congress. Speaking at a press conference this week to announce the expulsion, the UDC leader said “we took the decision after careful examination of the BMD response that they failed to address the accusations levelled against them. That the totality of those accusations indicates that they acted against the interest of the UDC and in violation of the UDC constitution.”
Boko also asserted that their conduct subsequent to their suspension “exhibited total disregard and disrespect for the leadership of the UDC, its processes and structures.” And, he further pointed out that “the entirety of their conduct merits serious attention by the UDC and the decision was then taken that the BMD be and is expelled from the UDC.”
The UDC leader emphasised to the press that therefore it is the decision and it is in terms of the UDC constitution that they have the right of appeal within 30 days to the national congress of the UDC. “It is for them to exercise those rights if they so wish to do,” Boko lambasted. He also said that they know fully and understand that prior to reaching the decision they are certain that processes have been engaged in various places, wards, certain representatives, and that councillors have been given due processes from their respective organisations to represent the UDC.
He added that all those processes have concluded that in relation to the BMD that certain councillors that were identified and went through the due process should continue to represent the UDC. He said of the BMD councillors: “such councillors remain protected as representatives of the UDC now going forward. They will not lose their status as councillors of the UDC. We make special mention of this so that people don’t get alarmed. People understand that those who have gone through primary elections and have been identified remain in post ready to represent.”
Why the BMD is ultimately expelled
In justifying why BMD was eventually expelled, Boko said that the BMD misbehaved following their suspension. We raised with them certain issues that in terms of our constitution we categorise as acting against the interest of the UDC, he highlighted. “The BMD held a number of rallies after suspension. You know tenderness sometimes you allow some people a little of space to experience what is it outside the fold and how life is. And I hope comrades have realised and learned a few lessons. At least at that time they were on suspension and they have been given time to respond and they have responded,” Boko said.
The Gaborone Bonnington North leader added that now the situation is different as they are now expelled and UDC will engage with them as non-members of the party and deal with any behaviour that purports to be any representative of the UDC if it is undertaken by non-members and that they will deal with those. He added that but they cannot anticipate what the BMD might do or say.
Boko further explained: “as long as you are not in the fold but outside what right do you have then that you represent yourself as part of the collective? The collective can decide whether it wants you or doesn’t; whether you serve its interest or not; and whether you have acted against those interests. It is a political question whether you act in the interest of the UDC and it is also a decision to be taken politically.”
The BNF leader observed that the only quarrel one might have is if they have taken that political decision procedurally and “I believe we have.” Boko stressed that when the collective takes that decision to say it is not in the interest of the UDC then “no court in the world can say this is in the interest of the UDC. It’s not a call for the court to make but it is for the UDC to make. Courts don’t run political parties. Courts have even said it many times that politicians must not run to courts when they cannot take political decisions.”
Boko said the decision to expel BMD took only a paltry one hour
The leader of Opposition in parliament reminisced that leading to the suspension and ultimate expulsion, the UDC NEC pointed to certain matters that were put to them and gave them time to respond. They were to respond by the 18th of October 2018 and they did respond on the date, Boko confirmed while adding that the UDC NEC then met on Wednesday in Francistown to deliberate on BMD verdict.
He continued “meeting was efficient, we started at 3pm and looked at the issues in the most efficient manner and was done in about an hour. So let’s misspell the myth that we were there until midnight.” He said they looked at the response from the BMD and in that response what was transversed at length was what they call procedural and technical objections. Boko said one of them they say is that the BCP is not a member of the UDC.
“I have dealt with this issues so many times at different for and I have put it to rest. It’s dead and buried. BCP is a member of the UDC. We have held many meetings with the BCP. We even held a constitutional congress with the BCP in full attendance and participation. We hold the firm view and we are unmoved that the BCP is a member.” The BPP, he said has also participated fully in all the processes and decisions that have led to the BMD expulsion.
Galebotswe, Kapinga, Bayford to lead UDC national safety, security
In the process of preparing 2019 manifesto Boko said they have identified the Vice President of the UDC Dumelang Saleshando as the focal person in the leadership who will spearhead the preparation and issue of the manifesto. As part of that process, “we have set up a team that will advise the UDC leadership on issues of national safety and security. I want to announce that team here and now. We have Lt. Gen Gaolatlhe Galebotswe, immediate former commander of the BDF. Second is Kenny Kapinga and last is Dick Bayford. That’s the team that will be handling advice to the leadership of the UDC on national safety and security and involved in manifesto of such matters.”
UDC to take over BMD constituencies
In relation to BMD legislators, Gilbert Mangole representing Mochudi West and Molepolole South’s Tlamelo Mmatli, Boko said the first category is that the two sitting MP’s remain BMD and UDC until they themselves pronounce whether they are still on UDC ticket or another. “Their situation don’t change until they change it themselves or the UDC doing it if it has to because it still can.”
The second category, he added that it is of constituencies given to the BMD and which remain in that situation because as they say the BMD has 30 days to appeal to the congress and they must be given time and that period to exercise their choice. “After the 30 days, if they don’t appeal, the constituencies will now be looked at by the UDC as they are held by the constituent party for and on behalf of the UDC. After then we will find the candidates regardless of where they come from, and we will deploy them and facilitate that they represent the UDC,” he said.
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.