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Masisi meets Opposition, Trade Unions leaders

In nation building exercise, President Mokgweetsi Masisi is scheduled to meet Trade Union and opposition parties’ leaders next week, as part of mending relations by reaching consensus on matters of mutual interest.

Briefing the media this week, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, accompanied by Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi, stated that President Mokgweetsi Masisi would next week Thursday meet with leaders of other political parties to have a conversation. Prior to that, Masisi will meet the leadership of public sector unions on Tuesday to also discuss issues surrounding concerns that have been raised by trade union over the last 10 years.

Government has had a turbulent relationship with the workers in the last few years resulting in the infamous 2011 public servants strike in which hundred thousands of employees took to the streets to protest government’s refusal to increase their salaries. In the ensuing circumstances government fired a significant number of employees, who were deemed to have breached their employment contracts.

ALL PARTY CONFERENCE

Although there are no records indicating the year of its establishment, All Party Conference was active during President Sir Ketumile Masire’s presidency, playing a major role in the 1997 constitutional reforms which brought among others;  10 year limit to presidential term, automatic succession and reduction of voting age from 21 years to 18 years.

However, for the past 10 years, All Party Conference never convened despite several interested parties stating the need to do so to discuss issues surrounding politics, the most recent being the introduction of new electoral reforms that ushered in controversial developments such as the Electoral Voting Machine (EVM) as well as cancellation of supplementary registration for voting. Tsogwane has however downplayed the decision not to convene the conference during Masisi’s predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama’s tenure.

Tsogwane said part of the problem was the fact that the legal framework did not have statutes that compel a president to convene the meetings. He said the conference met on the basis of a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ based on issues that needed to be discussed. “The All Party Conference was therefore, for all intent and purposes, a consultative forum,” said Tsogwane. “The frequency of the meetings was informed by the need and meetings convened from time to time as the need arose.”

Tsogwane said it became a political norm in the past that the All Party Conference is held ahead of impending General Elections with a view to agree on improvements to the legal framework and strengthening of democracy. “Most of amendments to the Electoral Act then were as a result of this engagement amongst political players,” he said.

Masisi is scheduled to meet leaders of all political parties on Thursday next week, where it is expected that reforms regarding the All Party Conference functions. “In view of the limited scope of All Party Conference as per the legal framework, it is absolutely imperative to review its functions.”

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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