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BCP, BNF team up on EVM case

Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) have teamed up in a strategic move to shun the use of controversial Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the coming 2019 General Elections.

Both parties have resolved in their respective conferences over the weekend that they will not be part of elections conducted through the easily manipulative EVMs.At the conference, BCP took a position to utterly “reject the use of EVMs in the 2019 General Elections and the related electoral reforms and to carryout demonstrations in collaboration with our UDC partners during the on-going court challenge.” On the other hand the BNF also resolved that “the party completely rejects the use of the EVMs, whether it has a paper trail or not, in the 2019 general elections.”

The party has therefore joined the BCP in its case before court asking for intervention to stop the elections from proceeding with the EVMs which they contend are hack-able. They say it will be unconstitutional for the government to continue with the use of EVMs despite wide resistance by the masses (electorates). Furthermore, the BCP conference had also reiterated the need for political party funding by the state. Both parties will support an ongoing court case which seeks for intervention to impede the elections from proceeding with the EVMs – contending that it will be unconstitutional.

It is also well documented that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), EVMs Project Coordinator Gabriel Seeletso transverses the length and breadth of the country through kgotla meetings in which Batswana out rightly rejected the idea of the use of the machines at the next elections. However, government and IEC are on motion with logistical preparations to ensure that the machines are used in line with the amended Electoral Law. Apart from the contentious EVMs hot potato subject, BCP also made a resolution in terms of international relations that they have noted with concern the Botswana government’s eagerness to scuttle diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China.

Botswana has already made arrangements for the controversial Dalai Lama to set foot in the country against China’s position particularly premised on the “one China policy.” BCP therefore says Botswana is romancing sour diplomatic relations with the economic Asia giant regarded as the second superpower after the United States of America. In light of the move, the BCP conference further resolved that the party should broaden its pool of international partners who share the same political ideals. It was also agreed at the conference that all “labour unions” should be encouraged to “work together” to leverage on their “strength” for a clear workers’ agenda and re-instatement of the Public Service Bargaining Council.

With regards to the Sale of State Assets, the conference further resolved that “the sale of State assets in what appears to unmitigated corruption should be challenged by all means possible including demonstrations and legal means.” On the Mosu Construction the conference resolved that the Central Committee of the party should pursue with the Ombudsman, the case of using and abusing State resources for the construction of President Ian Khama’s estate at Mosu. The conference also resolved to endorse the decision of the Central Committee to challenge the government’s position on removal of medical cover for what is considered self-inflicted harm as unethical and discriminatory.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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