The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) faction led by Advocate Sidney Pilane will reject the participation of Botswana National Front (BNF) Vice President Dr Prince Dibeela in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) hearings into the BMD impasse.
The Pilane-led National Executive Committee (NEC) chairman, Nehemiah Modubule told this publication that they will formally register their rejection of Dibeela’s presence because they see him as conflicted on account of his close ties with the Ndaba Gaolathe-led NEC. Modubule alleged that Dibeela has been in the habit of accompanying their rivals on numerous activities, something they view as an indictment on his objectivity and impartiality.
To prove his point he stated that Dibeela has attended the Letlhabile meeting called by the Gaolathe faction on the 21st of May, weeks prior to the chaotic Tonota congress. He further alleged that Dibeela was also present at a Maitisong function on the 3rd of August, where Gaolathe gave a speech as well as on the 6th of August at The Big Five Lodge in Mogoditshane at Gomolemo Motswaledi’s commemoration. He further said that they will provide their reasons for their request for Dibeela to stand down at a set date.
The Gaolathe camp is racing against time while the Pilane camp seems to be moving at its own pace, all in a calculated struggle for supremacy. The Pilane-led NEC has asked that their hearing be deferred to September while the Gaolathe-led camp has in the same breadth issued an ultimatum to UDC that a determination on the impasse be rendered by 31st August. “Of course, we will surely ask that he stand down. He can’t attend. That is a given because he is conflicted,” said Modubule said matter of factly.
Furthermore, he said that they have sought a postponement of their appearance before the UDC panel because Pilane is currently in the United States of America. He also denied that the request of the postponement of their appearance is not a delay tactic to frustrate or scuttle their rivals’ next moves, stating that Pilane’s trip to the US had long been confirmed before the letters of appearance were received. The Pilane NEC was supposed to appear before a UDC panel at Oasis Motel on Wednesday.
The Gaolathe NEC had appeared the previous day where they allegedly gave documentary and oral evidence to bolster their case in the drawn our struggle for legitimacy of BMD leadership. UDC also released a statement, through secretary general Moeti Mohwasa calling for restraint by both BMD factions. It also stated that the appearance by BMD went smoothly:
“On 22nd August, the NEC met with the Ndaba Gaolathe led team and received their version of the genesis of the BMD conflicts. The meeting was characterised by comradely frankness and sincere engagement on the nature and extent of the conflict. To the extent that the NEC was presented with a full narration of what the group perceives to be the key areas of tension, we are satisfied that the meeting achieved the purpose for which it was convened,” Mohwasa said. â€¨â€¨
Mohwasa also continued to say that UDC NEC is hopeful that the meeting with Pilane-led NEC will proceed in the same manner, stating: “On the 4th of September, the NEC will meet the Pilane led team of the BMD. Like the meeting of 22nd August, the primary purpose of the meeting will be to accord the group an opportunity to present its views on the root problems that have bedevilled the BMD. We have no doubt that the meeting will proceed smoothly as the team has accepted our intervention.” However, Gaolathe-led BMD expressed exasperation at the postponement characterising, it as a lack of seriousness by the Pilane camp.
A statement released by Dr Phenyo Butale this week read in part: “It was therefore disheartening, to be informed at the UDC meeting, that the other group, who were supposed to appear the following day, 23rd August 2017, had indicated that they would only be available between the 4th and the 6th of September. We wish to register our concern at this lack of urgency and commitment to a speedy resolution of this matter, and reiterate our position that any sluggish approach to this matter should be viewed as counter-productive and self-defeating.” Dibeela could not be reached by press time as his mobile rang unanswered.
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.