The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee has backed down on the idea of cancelling next year’s party congresses and has since given President Mokgweetsi Masisi a blueprint on how to manoeuvre a transitional period marred by controversy.
Insiders point out that if President Masisi takes their advice he will be able to counter the so called “Khama magic” which seems to mar his Presidency. In July this year, party Secretary General, Mpho Balopi proposed to Ghanzi region that the National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC), Women Wing as well as the National Congress, all scheduled for next year, should not be held as expected.
Balopi and perhaps the party’s reasons to have the congresses postponed were premised on the fact that the party is going through a transition period, following the ascendance of Masisi to the party presidency in April this year. Intentions to have party congresses postponed were met with resistance by party structures and party veterans who believed the move is against the party constitution and its democratic credentials.
The party leadership has since bowed in and plotted another way in which Masisi could win the battle to win the soul of the party which has two centers of power – Masisi and his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama. Masisi, sources say, was given strategies by his colleagues in a meeting held on the 11th of this month. The idea is anchored on Masisi winning support from fellow democrats as the party will assemble for various congresses next year.
“The president should be surrounded by the people he trusts who can protect him and it is very imperative that all who win in the congresses next year should be sharing the same vision as him. Further he should be smart enough so that democrats give him the necessary support,” a BDP source said Wednesday afternoon. Masisi’s ascendance to the throne has been marred by fallout with his predecessor, with some believing that he is ill-treating his former boss, while others believe that Khama wants to undermine Masisi’s presidency.
Advisors, as part of the strategy, have told Masisi to claim ignorance on anything suggesting a ‘fallout’ between him and Khama and has since followed the script accordingly. “We asked him about the feud as we read and hear about it on the media and he said he should be given time to see if at all there is a fallout of which according to him it is just fiction from the media,” Kweneng West regional Chairperson Motlhophi Leo said.
Masisi visited the region on the 16th of this month as part of the plan to entrench himself on the BDP followers. There is an air of suspicion within the BDP multitudes that Khama who still enjoys support within the party will place his allies on some positions within the party committee. This is seen as a possible blow that could be devastating to Masisi’s rule as he would be surrounded by enemies who might even weaken him.
To this end Masisi has visited the two regions of Kweneng West and Central in a bid to have a firm grip on the party which seems to be undermining his authority. At the said meetings, it is indicated that he did what his advice-givers said, promising the party members that he will do everything to ensure they are happy.
“He promised us that he will consult his cabinet in the mid-term review next year to satisfy our needs. We have water problems, poor roads and no sewerage system. Further the government in initiatives are not enjoyed by all the people and should benefit,” Leo said. On the other hand in Serowe, it is said Masisi warned the militant central regions party members to register in large numbers as some await primary elections appeals to end.
“He wants all the constituencies back and he encouraged everyone to register for the elections and avoid using the Bulela Ditswe appeals as the excuses,” regional secretary Gase Rapelang said. Kweneng West is made up of four constituencies Molepolole South and Molepolole North, Takatokwane and Letlhakeng Lephepe. Two of these are under the opposition and Masisi has emphasised the need to wrestle them from the opposition next year. The entire five constituencies under the central region are under the BDP watch.
Apart from the two regions, the president is expected to tour all the 14 regions to understand challenges they face while also tilling the soil for both the party congresses and general elections next year. This weekend the party chairman Slumber Tsogwane will visit the Ngami region to replicate what Masisi has done. The other 11 regions according to the plan shall be addressed by the president.
BDP APPEALS DELAY IRKS MPs
With the BDP Appeals Committee still assessing various protests from those who lost in the primary elections, BDP Members of Parliament say it has stopped everything. One MP who spoke to this publication said he has long requested ministers to visit his constituency, but in vain since they are still awaiting judgement. “I have long asked them to visit my people here because we have so many issues including water and road challenges but the relevant ministries are reluctant,” he said.
He revealed that he suspect that should ministers lose appeals chances are they will sabotage everything of which it will be unfortunate. Backbenchers have been conducting kgotla meetings to update electorates on the decision taken in the last sitting of parliament. MPs are of the view that it is important to have ministers at those meetings to directly answer the enquiries from the public. The last sitting of parliament will commence on the 5th of next month.
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.