The opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has finally resolved to expel the embattled Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and its leader Sidney Pilane. The party reached the consensus this week at a meeting summoned by new bilateral partners Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
At the said meeting the two parties have already sidelined and excluded the “insignificant” BMD and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). The meeting was initially intended to discuss registration for the next General Elections in 2019 but the hot potato issue of the controversial BMD leader, Pilane ended up cropping up and dominating the discussion. Both BNF and BCP agreed on the bilateral tours and they started with party members from Gaborone, Mochudi and Ramotswa.
In the coming weeks they will be engaging Kweneng, Southern and eventually other parts of the country in which the Secretary Generals of the two parties are leading the engagements countrywide to take notes for decision making. “Basically the people are saying that Pilane, and not just Pilane, but also the entire BMD should be expelled from the UDC. They say if Pilane is a problem then why does the party (BMD) not take action or distance itself from him?” an immaculate source who preferred anonymity and sat at the top table during the discussions told Weekend Post shortly after the meeting.
He continued: “and that people are not willing to register to vote the entire party (UDC) because they have absolutely no confidence in Pilane and BMD therefore automatically dragging the UDC in it. So that was the message. Almost everybody was saying that (Pilane should go).” The party (UDC) was in its endevour to do something to tap up the morale of the people particularly electorates in preparation for the upcoming elections.
When approached for a comment after the meeting, UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa also confirmed that people were calling for expulsion of Pilane and the BMD. “The principle was basically that expel Pilane first and then the BNF and BCP will see how they will work together in the next elections and under whichever arrangement. They can choose to remain in the UDC or form another new arrangement. We will see when we get there at the right time,” Mohwasa stated.
According to Mohwasa, he also didn’t totally agree with the notion that the UDC cannot expel the BMD, and even at the last congress at Boipuso hall he said to have differed. “Because any logical situation you cannot have entrance into any arrangement and without exit. There is nothing like you come and get locked in. It’s totally impossible,” he pointed out.
The UDC mouthpiece also clarified that they are not pulling out from the UDC, but expelling Pilane. He continued: the problem that has caused the delay is that we have invested so much in the UDC project adding that “it is a brand.” Mohwasa also observed that “if you were to look at the old constitution that it was said to be implemented especially during the transition it is clear that a misbehaving member can be punished or action taken against them including being expelled if it warrants so. So that argument by Pilane that it cannot is misleading and doesn’t hold water.”
Currently, he said UDC President Boko is looking at the issue of new constitution which was rejected by Registrar of Societies. We have engaged the legal services of Attorneys Leburu and Toteng to look into it, he highlighted. While Weekend Post was engaging the UDC mouthpiece, one young lady who is member of the BNF emerging from the meeting also told Mohwasa that “comrade you see this glow that I have; you see this weight that I have gained, you get that when you cut ties with Pilane you just glow, try it, it works, I am telling you,” she said as she walked away illustrating the extent in which members believe the UDC should expel the BMD leader.
While Mohwasa did not respond to the party member he told this publication that “they don’t even have a problem with the BPP. The problem is not the size of the party but the behavior of the party leadership like that of BMD.” When asked on whether the party is ready to tussle it out in court following the decision to expel Pilane, he said there are aware of the time factor, and that Pilane may drag them to court and they remain ready for that.
He went on to justify the bilateral meetings that expelled Pilane: “you know if we motivated the BNF and BCP members then we have taken care of our support base because to be honest BMD doesn’t have the numbers. This is also bearing in mind that the BMD under Ndaba Gaolathe also had no strong numbers and the situation got worse after the party split to form AP.”
According to Mohwasa who after attacking BMD, neither would spare AP separately saying “AP is not even worth mentioning because they are not part of the UDC. In fact I think the earlier people start counseling themselves that AP won’t be part of the UDC in the next elections the better.” The BNF Secretary General pointed out “we can see by the party (AP) posture that given the way they are busy fielding candidates just get to show you they have made up their minds to go it alone. They are getting themselves out there ready for 2019.”
When quizzed on what form the BNF and BCP intend to work under which arrangement he answered “the issue of BNF, BCP pact is still on negotiations and we are discussing it while under UDC arrangement. People believe that we can salvage the UDC and we will do exactly that.” He justified that there is nothing wrong with holding bilateral meetings among UDC members like we as BNF are doing with BCP without other contracting parties.
Mohwasa said after listening to the wishes of the party members they will raise the issues with the UDC leadership since they have executive powers. BNF president Duma Boko and BCP president Dumelang Saleshando will also run other sessions concurrently through political rallies. Meanwhile Chillyboy Rakgare was also expelled from the closed meeting because of his frequent outbursts on the UDC leader Boko and with rumours hanging over his head that he destined to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
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.