Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s former Member of Parliament for Gaborone West South which has been re-named Gaborone Bonnington North, Robert Masitara has decided to quit active politics, Weekend Post can reveal.
The Gaborone based businessman – cum socialite cum philanthropist, confirmed to this publication this week that he is “fed up with politics.” “I can confirm that I have lost interest in politics, I have even changed my mind and will not be contesting for the 2019 General Elections at Gaborone Bonnington South. I think I played my part, and I am done,” he said boldly. According to Masitara, he feels disillusioned by politics in general particularly at the BDP as there are is a lot of power struggle going on in the party and party members fighting incessantly against each other for positions.
“Ours is not issue oriented but it’s mostly pettiness,” the maverick politician, who is seen as lacking a common touch of the average man on the ground, observed. Recently, he made a u-turn at the eleventh hour after submitting his name for contestation for the position of chairmanship of the BDP which was seen as a two horse man race between Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi. Pundits had said Molefhi was linked to having an interest in the presidency of the party. In light of the observation, Masitara said he realized that indeed he was caught up in a losing battle particularly as he viewed the race as not necessarily of ideas but a fight for “something bigger.” He continued to state that it was therefore not his immediate intention to get in the middle of scheme of things.
The corruption busting former MP said this at the backdrop of a strong speculation that the competition between Molefhi and Masisi was not merely for chairmanship of the party but for total control of the party that would culminate in any of them ultimately clinching the presidency in 2019. Prior to 2019 General Elections, Masisi, who clinched the position of chairman at the said BDP congress, will also automatically become president in 2018. Before the BDP congress, and subsequent to pulling out of chairmanship race prematurely, the non conformist politician, Masitara, revealed that instead, and in line with empowering women, he categorically endorses Anna Motlhagodi to represent BDP at Gaborone Bonnington North.
Before defecting from opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to BDP, Motlhagodi contested against the latter in the last two successive elections in which Masitara won in 2009 while the renowned human rights lawyer and Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) leader Duma Boko prevailed in the following 2014 elections in his debut with the duo. Boko is seeking re-election in 2019 and his likeliest challenger would seem is Motlhagodi at least for now. When speaking to Weekend Post this week, the BDP former MP said he will focus on his company, Masitara Forensics which is a money laundering and fraud investigators organ.
Masitara, known for his signature anti-corruption stance which formed central part of his political activism during his two terms in parliament, Masitara served as the Chairman of two parliamentary committees being one on State Owned Enterprises and the other on Governance and Oversight over the Office of State President and Agencies that fight Crime and Corruption.As chair of the parliamentary bodies, Masitara earned himself a ‘bad name’ from politicians, even from his own party and, some top government officials who were against his anti corruption crusade saying it’s just a “witch-hunt” to embarrass the elites. He was however not fazed by the uncertainties and was adamant in fighting corruption in all its facets while in parliament.
Masitara has pioneered and has been actively involved in advancement of numerous social philanthropic activities in Botswana. Specifically, he is also the founding chairman of the Masitara Foundation, a non-profit making organisation whose role entails the provision of medical assistance to under-privileged children in Botswana. When joining active politics prior, Masitara said he believed it was a platform through which he could meaningfully represent the interests of the underprivileged and disadvantaged people in Botswana.
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.