Opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has hinted that it’s on the wings like vultures waiting to pounce on its prey. The party says this in relation to the internal bickering in the ruling Botswana Democratic Change (BDP) between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and immediate ex-president Lt. Gen. Ian Khama.
Masisi was Khama’s chosen Vice President and endorsed by parliament. They are currently not in good terms and do not see eye-to-eye just over three months following the exchange of baton between the two. When reading into the dispute, observers contend that the deteriorated relationship between the duo is borne out of the suspicion that Khama, believes that Masisi may have renegade on what was agreed by the two men.
Others posit that Khama may have wanted to rule from the grave as is common with some former presidents who have a soft spot for power. Khama who is still influential and commands lot of respect as now Bangwato paramount chief – the most popular tribe in Botswana – has re-entered the political field.
Already he has de-campaigned Minister of Justice Defence and Security who doubles as Bobonong legislator, Shaw Kgathi while indirectly endorsing his competitor, Francisco Kgoboko at an Agricultural show event in Bobonong. Kgathi will face Kgoboko at BDP primary elections which have since been postponed.
It is understood that Khama’s next political target may be Minister of Basic Education Bagalatia Arone who blamed Khama administration for the current mess in the education sector in the country. It is still unclear who may follow afterwards in the BDP battalion of law makers. Apart from the political feud, Masisi has denied Khama aircrafts mode in his official travels few times this is understood to have not gone well with the former president.
President Masisi also recently released a savingram that would starve Khama access/publicity in the state broadcaster Botswana television (Btv). Masisi has also made handful drastic reversals to most of Khama’s brainchild policies, programs and approach to governance. It appears, while he was his VP and endorsed most of his decisions, Masisi’s blueprint will be more consultation as opposed to Khama’s presumed ‘totalitarianism.’
While the Khama/Masisi feud is playing out in public gallery, the opposition coalition although currently in tatters too, say they are watching with keen interest the developments in the BDP top echelons of power – with much admiration. Speaking to Weekend Post in an interview this week on the BDP fights particularly Khama/Masisi bad blood the UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said the BDP is already on a downward spiral in terms of the popular vote.
“The BDP is already on its knees – with or without the internal challenges at the BDP. We are poised to win the 2019 General Elections. For the first time in the history of this country, we are ruled by a minority government. They contested the last elections united but couldn’t cross the 50% mark. Ever since 1969 General Elections the BDP has been on downward trajectory,” he asserted when asked how UDC may benefit from Khama/Masisi cat fight.
Mohwasa continued to point out that the BDP will lose next elections because “it is a given that disunity in any organisation compromises its optimal performance. Just like it happened to the opposition in 1999. The BNF performed badly in 2009 because of divisions.” When this reporter posed a question in relation to how UDC will benefit from the BDP infightings whilst itself UDC is also shaking as far as the affiliate parties are concerned he said “No. We are working around the clock to resolve them.”
Meanwhile a legislator who seemed to be still in Khama’s good books is his long time friend and cabinet Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development and legislator for Tonota Thapelo Olopeng. Khama was spotted attending a kgotla meeting in one of his subjects as a Bangwato paramount Chief in Mandunyane.
Masisi’s inner relationship with Olopeng is still unclear. It appears like at this stage leading to the 2019 General Elections it will be a roller coaster and a marvel to watch in the political scene in the country, but only time will tell which party will emerge victorious despite all the influential factors put forward before then.
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.