In a political battle that is seamlessly playing out, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) camps are plotting against each other – the divisions are nailed on the placards of Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Nonofo Molefhi. The most pronounced battle ground is supposedly the party primary elections which are just about to kick in ahead of the 2019 general election.
Already there is a plot to plant challengers for those on separate camps; top in the list is Nonofo Molefhi who will have to contest with a current central committee member, Ms Mmapula Phuduhudu for the Selibe East constituency. Molefhi stoked up fires when he expressed interest in the chairmanship of the BDP, hence initiating a contest with the Vice President, who wishes to defend the chairmanship. Masisi’s team is relentless and wants to see him cross the bridge. Molefhi also has to deal with the threat of Selibe Phikwe Mayor, Amogelang Mojuta, who is also interested in becoming a Member of Parliament for the constituency. Insiders point at the possibility of Molefhi being wiped off the political space should he lose the BDP chairmanship in July.
Assistant Minister if Trade Investment and Industry Development, Biggie Butale who doubles as Member of Parliament for Tati West is also under the radar. Masisi’s camp which recently demonstrated its ruthlessness and intent by during Jacob Nkate from their slate following his declaration of intent to challenge Masisi for Presidency next year, is said to have ploughed BDP Youth Wing chairperson, Simon Mavange as the possible candidate to replace the pastor legislator in the 2018 primary elections. Butale is said to be aware of the plot to sponsor Mavange to challenge him.
Women’s Wing Chairperson, who was recently returned unopposed from the congress in Maun also has to deal to with a challenge in 2018 primaries. The situation is a bit different in her case because the Masisi camp is aware of her strength and the candidate they have identified Moreetsi appears to be below the desired strength to rid of Makgato.
The Minister of Health and Wellness is seen as an anti-Masisi character because she has in the past voiced out against recruitment of opposition activists, especially those from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and they are given prominence ahead of long time BDP foot soldiers. She is seen as being too influential in pushing the candidacy of Molefhi in the race for chairmanship of the party.
Another constituency which is expected to produce interesting primary election battle is Serowe South. Under the assumption that current Member of Parliament, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi will not contest the 2019 election, former US based diplomat, Tebelelo Seretse will slag it out with another planted candidate in Dr Kolaatamo Malefho, a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Those trying to explain the equation indicate that Malefho sees himself as an antagonist to Mokgato because his departure from the Ministry was prompted at the arrival of the former at the Ministry when she was transferred from the Ministry of Trade and Investment. By inference this leaves Seretse as a pro-Makgato candidate. In any case Makgato has declared that she will support women candidates within the ruling BDP. She is worried that 2019 could see much lesser number of women Members of Parliament.
In Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane is seething with anger because he continues to uncover plots geared towards removing him from his position as Member of Parliament. A number of candidates appear ready to raise their hands to take the baton from Moswaane. Although it has not come out clear as what their allegiances are, former University of Botswana BDP Wing chairperson, Tebogo Toteng has declared his intention to challenge Moswaane. He is a strong Masisi supporter and he wants the party to support the Vice President unconditionally. Buti Billy is also treading on thin ice in the Francistown East constituency. The Masisi camp believes he does not support the candidacy of the Vice President and they have included him in their hit list. However, Billy’s foot soldiers who spoke to this publication have indicated that he will survive the primary election battle because the Vice President’s battalion only bellows from Gaborone and it is not present on the ground.
Polson Majaha is also an endangered species. Surely he is viewed as an anti-Masisi candidate more so because of his spontaneous nature when it comes to debates. Youthful Lawrence Ookeditse is giving the traditionalist sleepless nights with his incursions into the youth base in the Nata-Gweta constituency. The Mosetse born lad, a known Masisi sympathizer, has whispered his intentions to friends and well wishers. Majaha has cried foul over the fact that Ookeditse is a civil servant and his political escapades must be curtailed.
Francistown South, which is currently under the Opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) under Wynter Mmolotsi will also pit the Masisi-Molefhi battalions against each other. The other is selling Andy Boatile as a potential candidate to challenge Mmolotsi; and the other is pushing Solly Reikeletseng as the real man for the job. Boatile is a former BDP Youth Wing chairperson and is serving as nominated Councillor in Francistown while Reikeletseng is the chairman of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and also a businessman.
However those in the Masisi camp and currently in Parliament will also face stern competition in the primary elections because there are a number of candidates lined up to challenge them. Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi is one of the targets. Indications are that there is more than one challenger in Bobonong.
Kgathi is running for the position of deputy secretary general of the BDP at the July congress and he is fighting from Vice President, Masisi’s corner. Kgathi is fighting a two pronged battle because he is said to be interested in the Vice Presidency when Masisi ascends to the Presidency in April 2018. BDP is expected to conduct primary elections in opposition held constituencies in late 2017 and early 2018 and the rest in late 2018 and early 2019.
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.