The decision by the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President, Dumelang Saleshando to contest the Maun West parliamentary election in 2019 has made the constituency one of the busiest political hives. One activists who recently defected to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Kent Thapelo has vowed to de-campaign Dumelang Saleshando in Maun West.
Thapelo and George Lubinda, BCP’s 2014 candidate, were recently welcomed in to the BDP during the party extra ordinary congress in Gaborone. Before their defection to BDP they were linked with Botswana Movement for Democracy. In an interview, Thapelo blamed their defection on their ‘bad’ treatment by BCP leadership with regard to the way the party favored party president Dumelang Saleshando over Lubinda who had traditionally contested the constituency.
Thapelo said together with Lubinda they quarried why BCP chose Saleshando to contest in Maun West as he is not familiar with the Maun politics. “There was no consultation. Lubinda was not consulted at all on the decision on Saleshando’s candidacy in Maun West. This is what led us to leave BCP.”
Thapelo joined BCP in October last year in what many viewed as an opportunistic move to allow him contest Komana/Toteng council ward which was allocated to BCP not BMD, in the North West UDC constituency and wards allocation agreement. “Personally I was never accepted in to the BCP. So I decided to join BDP. I will campaign for Reaboka Mbulawa against Saleshando.”
Addressing political rallies during his tour of Maun West in May, Saleshando said the ‘ground is ready’ for him to contest in 2019. He said contrary to sentiments that he is not well known in Ngamiland, many people are happy that given his experience he will adequately represent them on issues such as wildlife conflicts. “Those people spreading are scared BDP members. I am from this area and have every right to contest in Maun West. “
Saleshando said one of the issues he has earmarked to give attention is the dominance of tourism sector by foreigners at chagrin of locals. However, Lubinda while confirming his previous intentions to contest in Maun West under BCP refuted that he joined BDP due to Saleshando’s candidacy issue. “Yes last year I moved a motion to BCP North West regional leadership that we request BMD to give us Maun West because BCP is very strong in the constituency.
I made it clear that although I lost in 2014 it was because Kgosi Tawana Moremi was contesting not because BCP is weak. Kgosi Tawana won not because BMD is strong in Maun West but due but because he is a chief.” Lubinda said however he later started hearing rumors that there were meetings hosted by influential BCP cadres to influence BCP president to contest in Maun West. “I was not consulted. I just heard rumors about that in the streets. Later I heard that BMD agreed to give Maun West to BCP.”
He said after joining BDP, he will help BDP campaign in Maun West saying: ‘I will campaign for BDP not Mbulawa.’ BCP North West Regional Chairman, Goretetse Kekgonegile said Lubinda was adequately consulted. “He lost democratically. Majority of people in the region supported Saleshando over him because they want a strong candidate who will adequately represent the interests of the Ngamiland people on issues such as wildlife conflicts, land and agriculture issues. It’s a democracy he should just accept that he lost and stop the blames.”
Meanwhile Moalosi Sebati of Alliance for Progressives has confirmed that he will face Saleshando and Mbulawa under the AP ticket. Sebati said in an interview: “Our campaigns going well. We are registering members in high numbers. We just registered 700 members in Boyei ward which is said to be BCP stronghold. I do not fear any of those two because people on the ground do not want any them. I am assured of a win.”
On the other hand, Tawana Moremi has told Weekend Post in an interview that so far he does not support any of the standing candidates saying: “I will support only the candidate who has the issues of Ngamiland such as land and tourism at heart. So far I do not support anyone.”
The land and Wildlife questions promise to be a burning campaign issue for the 2019 elections. In testimony of this, one of the resolutions at the recent BDP extraordinary congress was that government should consider lifting the wildlife hunting ban and also that government should review compensation of victims of wildlife destruction. Kekgonegile on the other hand also explained that BCP will also produce a regional manifesto detailing its position and solutions to wildlife and land issues in Ngamiland.
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.