Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane has warned that recent events will most likely lead to unprecedented violence in the history of Botswana in the build up towards the 2019 General Elections.
Ntuane has observed that the political climate is becoming hostile with the level of intolerance both in the BDP and opposition having reached high levels. Although Ntuane initially stated this during the BDP Tonota Congress, in his report as secretary general, he reiterated his stand following the violence which erupted at the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Congress last weekend. Several people were injured in the battle for the party’s soul leading to many people condemning the acts.
“Batswana will remember me in 2019. In my secretary general congress report I foretold a violent general election. Preceded by violence at BDP in the run-up to Tonota; now the violence in Bobonong. It is building up to a perfect storm of violence in 2019 at this rate,” he shared with his followers on social media. Ntuane later told this publication that in his view it is time the civil society, clergymen and the media start preaching peace in order to avert the situation. At the BDP Congress in Tonota, it was reported that the party had received an unprecedented number of petitions regarding delegates’ selections in the lead up to the congress which indicated heightened tensions between camps which were contesting for central committee positions.
The party also heard that there was an increase in the number of disciplinary cases which points to a fact that a growing number of members may be losing their way in the heat of tense political moments. “As the ruling party that has overseen the peace and tranquillity in Botswana for the last 50 years, we cannot turn a blind eye to growing hostilities within and between various political parties,” said Ntuane. “If left unchecked, this nation will someday find itself embroiled in political violence that we never thought possible.”
The former Gaborone North South (now Gaborone Bonnington South) legislator indicated that early signs such as toxic language on radios, hostile altercations at bye-elections meant that more could be coming. He said while the ruling party could not dictate to opposition parties what to do, the ruling party should be a leading example. Ntuane has emerged as a pacifist in the BDP and he does not regret his decision to snub the party lobby list ahead of the Tonota Congress. He said he did so in the interest of the party as a way of promoting unity ahead of the crucial party primary elections and the 2019 general elections.
Ntuane also wishes to see the tension between the ruling party and Trade Unions, especially BOFEPEUSU easing out. BOFEPUSU and government have been at loggerheads since 2011. Among African countries Botswana is ranked as the most peaceful and the longest standing democracy in Africa. Since 1965, Botswana has held general elections every five years without fail with both participating parties accepting the results. The BDP has been in power since 1965.
However, the 2014 dynamics put to test Botswana’s democratic and peace credentials as the nation approaches the highly anticipated 2019 general elections. For the first time in history, BDP’s popular vote fell below 50 percent opening up the possibility of the party losing power in the next general election. Several electoral reforms have also created an environment of uncertainty as far as the country’s peace is concerned. These reforms include the introduction of the controversial Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) which is being challenged in court by opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP). Already opposition has marched in protest to the introduction of the EVM.
Some section of the society, including the late former President Sir Ketumile Masire believe the EVM could become one of the factors of instability which is unnecessary in the lead up to the 2019 general elections. The EVMs have its own opponents in the BDP among them party veteran Daniel Kwelagobe who has gone on record saying there is no case for introducing the EVM.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.