The embattled Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Advocate Sidney Pilane has promised to step down from the position of party president following a verdict by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which declared his leadership illegitimate.
This publication has established that Pilane accepted the ruling on the basis that it affirmed that the BMD remained a member of the UDC. “Had they made any decision that sought to suspend or expel the BMD from UDC, I would have fought them with everything I have. I believe that we must accept the decision of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) and do as they say in order to deny them the excuse to continue excluding the BMD from UDC activities,” he shared in one of the social media platforms – facebook.
The latest ruling by the UDC comes as a shock following an earlier resolution by the UDC to recommend power sharing in the battle for party control instead of congress re-run as requested by the other faction. The UDC leadership also instructed BMD to hold an elective congress within 90 days. The resolution has however been received with mixed feelings with some section of the opposition especially those sympathetic to Ndaba Gaolathe, the former BMD leader, opining that the decision to call for a congress should have been made before formation of the Alliance for Progressives.
The current resolution follows the departure of the Gaolathe’s faction from the BMD after losing confidence in the UDC’s efforts to restore stability within the BMD. The group has since established a new party, the Alliance for Progressives (AP) which was launched last weekend. In explaining the decision not to call for a congress re-run in the BMD; UDC president, Duma Boko contended that had he made the same resolution earlier, it would have proved impossible to hold another congress since the two factions were embroiled in bitter war.
He said the Matshekge Congress, which turned into chaos, leaving several people severely injured, was a case in point and he did not want a repeat of the same violence. The Gaolathe faction had however then requested UDC to supervise the proposed congress re-run to ensure peace and stability. The major cause of dispute was the composition of congress, with parallel delegates proving to be contentious. “We are not apologetic about the BMD verdict as the UDC. We applied our minds long and hard,” he said.
Various schools of thoughts have emerged following the latest UDC resolution with some believing that it has been designed to eventually throw out Pilane and BMD in order to bring back Gaolathe’s AP into the UDC fold. Some had anticipated that Pilane, who had previously indicated that UDC had no business in telling BMD how to run its affairs, would reject the new verdict. Pilane has however agreed to UDC’s demands. Another school of thought is that the verdict did in fact legitimise Pilane’s presence in the UDC. Within 90 days Pilane will regain his position in the UDC as one of the Vice Presidents, the other being BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando.
The new resolution also wants the BMD to dismantle the leadership elected in Matshekge in favour of the previous one for the purpose of preparing for the proper congress. “It is therefore feasible and advisable to the BMD to fall back on the Ghanzi elected leadership to be caretaker of the party awaiting a legitimate congress which will elect the party leadership,” Boko said. The BMD is also expected to send four persons to represent the party in the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC). Boko said the UDC will not dictate who the BMD sends as their representatives to serve in the NEC.
The UDC leader further added that the new draft constitution, which is subjected for adoption at the party’s congress billed for the 24th of February next year, provides for the two positions of Vice President, both of which are equal to each other but with different responsibilities. He said, contrary to popular opinion that there is 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President, none of the Vice President is superior to the other.
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.