Former Members of Parliament, who feel they have been left in the lurch, have resolved to form an association, whose objective is to ensure they are recognized by current leaders as originators of Botswana’s economic development, WeekendPost has been informed.
The Association of Former Members of Parliament will act as an advisory body to the government of the day on matters of national interest, a source has revealed. The former MPs, it is said, are disgruntled by decisions taken by both the former administration of Lt Gen Ian Khama, and currently, Mokgweetsi Masisi’s.
The decision to form the association was championed by mostly Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) erstwhile members like Ray Molomo, Shirley Segokgo and Daniel Kwelagobe who are also sitting in the provisional committee. Other BDP MPs like Margret Nasha and Pono Moatlhodi who had a fallout with Khama have also warmed up to the idea. It is nonetheless not going to be a BDP centred association but will include other former legislators across the political divide.
The members have met before at a location known to this publication to sell the idea to their comrades and invited President Mokgweetsi Masisi where a proposal was presented to him. “We informed him about it and he came to one of our meetings and he spoke like a leader, warmly endorsing the idea to found this association,” an informant told this publication.
While the association is yet to be signed and stamped at the Registrar of Societies, former Minister of Education, Ray Molomo has been elected as the chairman with Shirley Segokgo taking up the Secretary General position on interim basis; other positions are yet to be filled, according to sources. By far, it is said the association has managed to attract around 80 ex-parliamentarians and the interest continues to grow with each passing day.
The association’s secretary Segokgo could not be drawn into discussing further details about the newly formed association. “We are still in the process of registering but we will be launching it very soon and that is when we can reveal much of the information,” she said. Meanwhile, former MP Daniel Kwelagobe has confirmed the developments. “It is true, we are forming an association for former MPs, and everyone who has been a legislator before can join regardless of the party colours or the duration of the term.
The fact that you were once an MP allows you to join it.” He added: “We want to contribute to the national development of this country, we were once leaders and we shouldn’t be redundant as it might appear, we have brains and experience to use for the betterment of Botswana and this association will help us to speak from an authoritative perspective.”
While sources were still cagey to reveal much about the association, it is expected that at the launch of the association, former Presidents Festus Mogae and Khama will also be unveiled as members. “For you to be a president you first become an MP and we expect them to join. But don’t press me to say anything as yet, because we are still to register,” Kwelagobe said.
Past legislator and deputy speaker of the national assembly Pono Moatlhodi has hailed the move. “It is very important to have this association because as former legislators we are poor; there is no pension or any benefits. When you lose elections you are thrown out and forgotten but as former MPs we are lifetime members of the commonwealth parliamentary forum,” he said.
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.