Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader Dumelang Saleshando emerged from the shade this week and stressed that his party Central Committee will deliberate on his fate soon.
He said this in relation to a public discourse enduring on whether he should contest the imminent 2019 General Elections and, on which constituency. This, notwithstanding, that the allocation of constituencies by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has been concluded. Suggestions have been made that he may contest Gaborone South if allocated, although the area is awarded to another party in the talks.
In the allocation, cooperating parties, Botswana National Front (BNF) walked with 22 constituencies, and BCP was awarded 14. The other collaborating parties, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) was given 14 against the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP)’s 4. The affiliates of UDC will contest the next elections as one entity (UDC) against ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Currently, the BCP leader does not have a constituency as his illustrious preceding constituency, Gaborone Central, was allocated to the BMD after Phenyo Butale defeated him in 2014 General Elections. Butale got 4601 as compared to Saleshando’s 3727, while Rupert Hambira of BDP came third with 3190 and independent candidate’s Sydney Baitsile was at 35. Under the formula of UDC constituency allocation – incumbency takes precedence.
Speaking to WeekendPost in an interview from South Africa this week Saleshando said he is expecting the BCP Central Committee to brood over the matter and arrive at a conclusion in the sands of time. “The issue of whether or not I should contest rests with the BCP Central Committee. If they decide that I should contest, they will also decide on where I should contest,” he pointed out.
Saleshando highlighted that the BCP Central Committee will have concluded on the matter “just after the July Congress” this year. When quizzed on his position, that is whether he wants the constituency or not, he said his interest in the matter is “inconsequential.”
According to Saleshando, he is not ruling out being assigned a different role which may be to focus on the national campaign. “It’s possible that the decision may be that I should focus on the national campaign.” But, he again explained to this reporter that “yes, I will accept any decision. I do not want to lead debate over this issue as I am conflicted. What my colleagues in the leadership decide will be in the interest of the party, I am duty bound to accept. My personal preference is peripheral.”
Saleshando made the remarks solely to this publication following a BCP Youth League media briefing this week in which the youth structure called for the UDC to apportion the BCP principal a constituency for contesting in the looming 2019 General Elections. In preparation for the 2019 General Elections, “we call on the leadership of the UDC to allocate President Saleshando a constituency,” asserted the BCPYL President Chillyboy Tumiso Rakgare, in his signature crow to journalists.
Rakgare noted that the issue should have been addressed before the conclusion of constituency allocation. He observed: “the BCP demonstrated its commitment to the talks by giving BPP to Tati East, BMD to Lerala/Maunatlala constituency and Lentsweletau/Mmopane to BNF/BMD. The UDC should also accommodate the youth and women. We will engage the mother body on this one.”
On the issue of controversial Electronic Voting Machines (EVM’s), Rakgare was concerned about the hurry in which the Electoral Act was amended to accommodate the use of EVM’s in the coming 2019 elections. He consequently threatened that, if anything, they will boycott the elections. “Should the IEC and government continue to push the idea, we will ensure that elections are not held.”
However, on his part on the matter, BCP leader Saleshando clarified that the party’s position is that they are challenging EVM’s through court process adding that they are confident it will not survive the legal challenge. “So, debate on whether or not to boycott is not on the table,” 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.