Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is currently weighing its options while waiting for an urgent court case in a matter in which Tshekedi Khama dragged the party to court. Tshekedi Khama, younger of former President Lt Gen Ian Khama, has taken the party to court to force them to disqualify his opponent Moemedi Dijeng in the upcoming party primary elections slated for August 25.
Tshekedi Khama believes that there have been some irregularities and that the party failed to resolve the issue hence why he opted for court. According to Tshekedi, Serowe West branch has been captured and working with cahoots with his competitor Moemedi Dijeng.It is not the first time that Tshekedi want Dijeng barred from standing against him, in the last primary elections he was successfully prohibited by Tshekedi through the party on flimsy grounds. He wants the same to happen this year.
Meanwhile, it has become almost a custom that when party members drag their parties to court they normally face disciplinary actions thereafter and may get suspended or expelled for “bringing their parties into disrepute.” Some pundits are already calling for both Tshekedi and his brother and ex-president Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama to face the music as well like every Jack and Jill of the party by being summoned to Tsholetsa head quarters for possible disciplinary and subsequent suspensions and expulsions – if it warrants so.
Former President Khama, is currently building a case in a move to take the Masisi administration to High Court for rejecting the former spy chief Isaac Kgosi as his preferred choice for the vacant private secretary position. In addition, Khama has also pitted some party members against each other and in particular by openly supporting Francisco Kgoboko against his Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi in BDP primary elections for the Bobonong constituency. Political pundits say other casualties are on the way.
The Khamas’ still remain very powerful and influential in the BDP politics. When speaking to Weekend Post this week the BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi declined to speak on ex-President Khama but stated boldly in reference to Tshekedi’s matter that, “the matter is still at court. And so if I tell you what action we will take, I will be pre-empting the outcome of court process.”
He continued: “As much as we are aware that ever Motswana can or should go to court when they feel aggrieved for whatever, but we, as a party (BDP) we have a disciplinary process in place in case one of our members put the party in bad light. So after the court process we will reconcile the two processes.”
Balopi stressed that after the Tshekedi’s court case judgement they will reconcile the two BDP members and find out if there was indeed a violation or a conflict – in line with party processes and procedures – and then afterwards we will take appropriate action to one who put the party in bad image.
“We have to establish merits and de-merits, we have to find out if, when the party was taken to court, was it really justifiable, and that’s the only time we will be able to take action,” the BDP Secretary General stressed to this publication. In 2009, in one of landmark cases, the late Gomolemo Motswaledi, then BDP Secretary General, dragged the party to High Court after he was suspended for 60 days and barred from contesting the Gaborone Central constituency.
Motswaledi had been suspended supposedly for defying then party president, Khama. He was later suspended for a further five years, after losing the court case against Khama. Balopi has however defended the decision as “Motswaledi’s case was of high magnitude.” He explained: “Motswaledi’s case was a constitutional issue. He was challenging the constitution and the soul of the party and probably that is why there was stringent punishment applied on him at the time.”
Balopi insisted that “we don’t know what will be with Tshekedi. But the law is the law, I trust the process in government, the institution of government should be given an opportunity without interference.” We cannot pre-empt or discuss issues of the court case at this stage, but as a party we have processes, he further emphasised.
Meanwhile, the matter was on Monday postponed to next week. The matter was postponed to allow for Dijeng to seek legal representation as he claimed he was only served with papers late and needed time to file and argue the case fully. It was said that both parties may bring in new information that emerged after the previous urgent application as the party Primary elections were also postponed to August 25.
In the case before Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Modiri Letsididi, Clement Jabulani Mazhinge represents Tshekedi Khama while Basimane Bogopa will argue for the BDP and Dijeng was yet to identify attorney at the time of press.
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.