Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi has intervened in a political feud involving Nata/Gweta legislator Polson Majaga and Policy Specialist at Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYESCD), Lawrence Ookeditse, and in the process called on Minister Thapelo Olopeng to reprimand his employee.
The Vice President is reportedly worried that the political battle between the two, which has dragged on for some time now will tarnish the party’s image. Majaga has raised the issue in parliament before, asking principals at the Ministry of Youth to step in but his plea at the time fell on deaf ears. However, Assistant Minister Kefentse Mzwinila denied that Ookeditse was in any way involved in politics, highlighting that the policy specialist was hired on contract basis.
The Public Service Act of 2008 prohibits public servants from being active in politics. By being active in any manner in politics, Ookeditse may be seen to be canvassing support for the primary elections. It appears Majaga was hell-bent on airing his displeasure and getting his side of the story heard as he reportedly raised the issue at the BDP caucus on Tuesday this week. Majaga is said to have indirectly asked Olopeng to “engage his employee” to desist from engaging in political activities.
Olopeng is said not to have taken the comments in jest as he believed Majaga was passing a remark and pleaded with Masisi to intervene on the matter as he was unaware of the matter. However, Masisi, it is said, was concerned that the said employee was being given special treatment, and instead asked Olopeng to reprimand him (Ookeditse) as it can tarnish the party image. Masisi is said to have also remarked that Ookeditse was drawing unnecessary attention to the party as he was trampling on the Public Service Act.
“We read, we hear, and we see what is happening and we can tell what will happen or what is happening, so you need to talk about it because it will not serve as any-good,” Masisi reportedly said in a three man meeting. WeekendPost sought to establish if Olopeng had responded to the call for him to engage Ookeditse or how he had responded, at the time of going to print.
Although Majaga was pleased with the response he is said to have been equally surprised by Masisi’s words as Ookeditse is allegedly among the Young Turks the Vice President has been grooming to be his cabinet’s fast wheels. “Masisi is a leader and he has to be as neutral as ever, so that statement could mean nothing. We know that he wants Ookeditse in his cabinet post 2019 so Majaga should seriously work his constituency and not be blind-fooled by that remark,” a source from the meeting said.
Majaga is said to have told the party meeting this week that the party should allow all public servants wishing to contest to do so or block them altogether to avoid favouritism. The incumbent MP believes that Ookeditse could be using his position at the ministry of youth to campaign in his constituency which is poverty stricken and has high illiteracy levels. Since last year Ookeditse has been traversing the breath of the constituency, specifically visiting youth owned businesses. This according to Majaga was not genuine but rather a cosmetics approach to appeal to the constituents.
The constituency so far has seven candidates vying for the MP seat at next year’s primary elections. The alleged aspirants include former (2014) Botswana Congress Party (BCP) parliamentary candidate, Ditiro Majadibodu; former MP Oliphant Mfa; Nata East councillor Mbanga Mbanga; and regional education director, Mabonga Gadibolae. The outspoken Majaga won the constituency in 2014 after garnering 3,424 votes.
Majaga has been one of the few bold-hearted BDP MP’s at parliament coming up with motions including one for provision of free sanitary pads for students and direct election of the president among others. Most of his motions will be debated in the next session.
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.