Former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Youth League President Tumiso Rakgare will contest Mogoditshane constituency in next year’s general elections as an Independent candidate, WeekendPost can authoritatively reveal.
Rakgare, who was contesting under the BCP ticket, came second in the 2014 general elections, garnering 3846 vote against the eventual winner, Sedirwa Kgoroba who got 4180 votes under Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) banner. Kgoroba has since joined the newly formed Alliance for Progressives (AP). Impeccable sources have informed this publication that Rakgare is among disgruntled BCP firebrands who have resolved to go solo following an unsuccessful bid to have constituency allocation by the leadership of the UDC.
Subsequent to the split of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), which saw the party losing six Members of Parliament to newly formed AP, some within the coalition parties, BCP and Botswana National Front (BNF) in particular wanted the constituency allocation revised. Proponents of revising constituency allocation argued that BMD had weakened following its split, therefore its capacity to deliver the constituencies it was allocated had diminished. The efforts to have the February UDC congress discussing this matter failed.
Rakgare, then a youth league president was among those who opposed the BCP decision to join UDC, a resolution which was arrived at following the 2015 BCP Kanye Congress. Though Rakgare gave in afterwards, he never shied away from stating that the UDC council and parliamentary candidates should be directly elected by the membership, open to all members of the coalition parties. Rakgare also wanted the UDC president to be someone elected by the membership.
“Remember general membership would not participate or have a direct say on the kind of cooperation model to be adopted, but they can take part in voting for their preferred representatives. People should be allowed to directly elect the President, a person who would lead the coalition government,” Rakgare told WeekendPost in 2016. WeekendPost has gathered that Rakgare has begun to lobby both BCP and BNF councillors to support his candidature with an understanding that he will join the opposition coalition once he wins the constituency.
WeekendPost has established that, the BCP activists in Mogoditshane are so disgruntled that three of the four candidates who were scheduled to contest wards allocated to BMD withdrew their candidature in protest to the announcement that BMD new recruit, Bruce Nkgakile will contest as a UDC candidate for Mogoditshane. When reached for comment, Rakgare denied the reports suggesting that he will contest Mogoditshane constituency as an independent candidate.
“That is news to me; I have never at any point made such decision or announcement and you know I have long detached myself from politics to focus on my career. These are just efforts to jeopardize my job,” he said. Rakgare’s ally, who spoke to this publication, said part of the former youth league’s president’s plan is to convince his colleagues not to withdraw their candidature in the wards allocated to the party.
“The BCP in Mogoditshane knows it has numbers, and that Rakgare already has a base in the constituency. If he [Rakgare] works closely with UDC councillors in the constituency, he will garner more support to win the constituency,” revealed the source. Rakgare’s supporters in the constituency believe the 2014 loss to UDC, a coalition of three parties then, with less than 500 votes, gives him an upper had to win the constituency than the current UDC candidate.
Several BCP activists, including Phagenyana Phage, Vain Maimela among others have expressed their displeasure with the way things have turned out at the mother party. Maimela recently lost his parliamentary berth when BCP traded Francistown West for Maun West after a lengthy squabble over the constituency. Party structures have rejected the party decision, with reports indicating that Maimela may run as an independent candidate in the constituency. The Francistown West is a BCP stronghold, with recent victory in the Moselewapula Ward attesting to the party’s strength in the constituency.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.