The leadership of the four contracting partners forming the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)has not met since the two decisive Botswana Congress Party(BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) conferences in which it was resolved that the constituencies allocated to BMD will be expropriated.
The past week, the BNF moved to hold primary elections at the Lentsweletau/Mmopane constituency, a constituency which was initially allocated to the BMD during the talks. BMD originally had 14 constituencies under the UDC. The BNF primaries were contested by former Mogoditshane legislator, Mokgweetsi Kgosipula and Gilbert Watshipi. Watshipi won the election after garnering 887 votes against Kgosipula’s 528.
Moeti Mohwasa, who is the secretary general of the BNF and also spokesperson for UDC however has contended that the constituency, contrary to popular belief had not been awarded to BMD. “The Lentsweletau/Mmopane constituency has not been allocated to BMD. It is a subject of bilateral between BNF and BMD,” Mohwasa told WeekendPost.
Mohwasa’s statement is at variance with what the leader of BMD, Advocate Sidney Pilane has been saying in his previous statements. Pilane, in one of the statements that rattled feathers within the UDC family once accused Mohwasa and BNF spokesperson, Justin Hunyepa of disrespecting BMD by proclaiming ownership of the disputed Lentsweletau/Mmopane constituency.
This publication has gathered that the leadership of the UDC is not in talking terms and has not made an effort to resolve the crisis which came up following disagreement about the UDC constitution that was submitted to Registrar of Societies. Failure to meet to discuss the affairs of the coalition in the wake of galrring difference between the partners has been confirmed by Mohwasa. “The UDC NEC has not as yet met to deal with the matter but the president [Duma Boko] is attending to it,” said Mohwasa.
BCP has entered into a marriage of convenience with BNF, a party it split from 20 years ago, to fight against Sidney Pilane of BMD. Pilane is backed by the leadership of Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). The two entities have agreed that the UDC expropriate constituencies which were allocated to BMD for redistribution, save for the two; Mochudi West and Molepolole South were the party has sitting MPs. Moreover, the leaders of those two parties; Duma Boko and Dumelang Saleshando have jointly submitted a constitution which has been challenged and BMD and the BPP.
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.