The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is headed for a showdown ahead of its July elective congress. Tables are turning upside down in Palapye as party loyalists employ witchhunt tactics against each other on account of the ongoing tussle for the central committee positions which are up for grabs in July this year.
The Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, who doubles as the ruling party’s chairman is expected to defend his position, if all factors remain constant. But there are high chances that he will be challenged by high flying Minister, Nonofo Molefhi, and possibly former secretary general, Jacob Nkate. Indications are that party loyalists are already aligning themselves with various candidates of their choice and this is causing upheaval in some party structures across the country.
The party National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) is said to be divided because of known declarations of some senior executives of the structure. Chairman, Andy Boatile is said to have broken ranks with the Masisi lobby group and is expected to challenge Minister Shaw Kgathi for the position of Deputy Secretary General. Boatile is also not expected to support his current secretary general, who has his sights on the chairmanship of NYEC. Apparently the secretary general is sympathetic to Masisi.
In Palapye though, there is a more pronounced battle, where the Palapye branch committee has suspended the chairman, Samuel Maeka who is said to be favouring the chairmanship of Vice President Masisi. It is reported that the committee suspended him because he was not honouring party invitations and had not shown up for the Boikago Madiba council bye-election campaign. But insiders dismiss the narration of suspending him as lies, “rather he is suspended because the committee, which is in support of Molefhi observed that he was using his position to advance the Masisi agenda,” said a BDP senior figure in Palapye.
A committee of nine members wrote Maeka a letter recently warning him about his absence from party activities and has since acted on the letter. However the chairman responded to the letter on the 2nd of January this year dismissing its content and is failure to appreciate procedure. He stated that he has not been given audience ton respond to the allegations or charges against him. He also questioned the constitutionality of the meeting that decided that such a charge be laid against him.
“I am very much concerned by the state of affairs in Palapye constituency more so that we are engaged in a by-election exercise which all of us here are very much interested in winning it for the BDP for the sake of the reputation of the party going forward to 2019 general elections,” wrote Maeka in his response to the undated and hand written letter by the committee.
GOYA DRAGGED INTO THE WAR ZONE
Meahwile the Member of Parliament for Palapye, Moiseraela Master Goya has not espcaped the political inferno. The troubled Palapye Branch committee chairman has penned a 500 words letter to Vice President Masisi complaining about the conduct of the Assistant Minister of Basic Education. “This serves as a formal complaint against Hon Moiseraela Goya on the demeaning words used against myself at a BDP political rally during a campaign in the Boikago/Madiba on the 29th December 2016,” reads the opening paragraph of the letter.
Maeka alleges that the Assistant Minister ridiculed him thus: “ga ke batle malope mo partying, o noga modulasetilo, Ga o a thamalala. A o a nkutlwa?” He states that this has created animosity within the region and has greatly affected “my comfort in trying to execute my mandate as branch chairperson.”
The branch chairperson says it has been difficult for him to attend to party activities ever since these words were used against him. He further draws the Vice President’s attention to the Boikago/Madiba by-election campaign and emphasises the need for unity and restraint if the opposition is to be easily defeated in the election.
“I advise that the words used by the Honourable member have caused embarrassment and frustration among some members of the party and have also encouraged opposition to attack our party on the basis of disunity among us.” He urged Masisi to intervene as soon as possible before the animosity derails ongoing campaigns.
Insiders in the constituency point to a serious warfare that will only end after the party’s elective congress in July. They point out that it is expected that when a party prepares for internal elections, members will take jabs at each other to protect their turf. In the Palapye area there are BDP members who are vigorously pushing for a Nonfo Molefhi candidacy in the chairmanship and those that want Masisi to continue as party chairman.
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.