Gaborone High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng has on Thursday thrown out with costs an application by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President, Duma Boko, in which he was challenging parliament’s decision to expunge from the Hansard his statement made on February 26, 2016, regarding Botswana/China relations.
This, Boko contended, infringed on his freedom of expression. Delivering the ruling, Judge Radijeng noted that the substance of Boko’s challenge was of an internal nature for the National Assembly and the exercise of discretion by the Speaker Gladys Kokorwe. “The court cannot interfere in such matters as laid at its door by Boko,” Judge Radijeng said.
“It is my view that this court must extend the requisite comity that exists between courts and parliament. And I conclude that the court has no jurisdiction to inquire into matters that I have found to be matters of an internal or management of the National Assembly,” the judge said, adding that, the matter was for the province of the National Assembly alone and not courts of law. During his speech in the National Assembly on February 26, 2016, Boko had said:
“We hear of alleged closure of the embassy of China. This closure temporary as it may have been, carried a potent and ominous message for our country and its people. It was ascribed to the brewing diplomatic tensions between the Botswana and Chinese governments. The government of Botswana had in one of its many instances of thoughtless enthusiasm issued a condemnatory statement against The People’s Republic of China in respect of certain unresolved issues and territorial claims to the South China Sea.”
â€¨â€¨“We observed in fairness to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, that the statement could not have been crafted by mature, measured and able Honourable Venson Moitoi or her circle of professional diplomats. We have it on good authority that it is yet another Act by the over-zealous and immature Office of the President which continues to govern and operate on unbridled emotion and astonishing lack of foresight. We pray and hope that this callous mismanagement of our foreign policy does not plunge our country into an abyss from which we may not be able to extricate ourselves.”
It was then that a Member of Parliament for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane submitted a written notification to Speaker of the National Assembly Gladys Kokorwe that he wished to introduce a motion in respect of a definite matter of urgent public importance in order to expunge the Boko’s statement from the minutes on the basis that the facts stated therein were untrue. The argument was further that the minutes contained offensive and insulting language about members of the Assembly and in particular former President Lt. Ian Khama.
The minutes also were subsequently removed. â€¨Boko had through his attorney Mboki Chilisa sought leave of the court to call upon Kokorwe and Attorney General to show cause why Kokorwe’s decision should not be reviewed and set aside; to order her to reinstate Boko’s statements into the Hansard and to pay costs of this application. However, Kokorwe had through her attorney, Deputy Government Attorney Matlhogonolo Phuthego argued that the high court did not have jurisdiction to determine this matter.
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.