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.
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.