A hardliner ex-legislator Robert Masitara has this week found himself at odds with his party again and threatened with a disciplinary hearing by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top politburo.
Weekend Post has established that on Tuesday night a member of BDP in good standing who is also a cabinet minister, known to this publication, called the former legislator to tip him off of the imminent possibility of a disciplinary hearing. According to information gathered by this publication, the BDP politician cum philanthropist, Masitara has irked some of his party faithfuls, including the party top brass, by a face book post which was seen as “not in the interest of the party.”
The debatable face book post, which Weekend Post has seen reads thus: “I don’t believe in factions and it pains me to see members hating each other in support of these perceived corrupt and greedy leaders across the political divide.” It was not clear what the corruption busting BDP head was referring to.
He however pointed out blatantly that: “let us rebuild the BDP with proper and functioning systems and attract more members to the BDP. We need to expose and prosecute corrupt leaders who are sponsored by corrupt Indians, Chinese and other foreign nationals.” The outspoken BDP socialite and owner of Masitara foundation then went on to justify through the post that “this is an innocent comment posted for the love of our country.” I am not attacking anyone; he said adding that the winds of change are blowing throughout the length and breadth of Botswana.
Known for his signature loathe for corruption and his love for shooting from the heap, he provoked party headship which it is understood have discussed the matter thereafter leading to others subsequently calling for his disciplinary action. When reached for a comment, Masitara laughed off but confirmed that “indeed he has been informed by some credible members of both government and party that he will face the disciplinary hearing in a span of time.” He however could not be thrown into further details treading cautiously of further reproaches.
However the BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane was clueless on the matter. He told Weekend Post that “I know of no disciplinary charge against Mr Masitara. If there was I would be in the know. What offence has he committed? I saw the face book post. If none of our people are not in the pockets of Chinese or Indians then why worry?” he wondered.
It is not the first time that the former law maker finds himself in hot soup over remarks he uttered. At one point while an MP, he said his counterpart and the then Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe should account for the “defective 15 billion pula Morupule B power station” as it was under his watchful as he was Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water resources while the project instigated.
He was also on the receiving ends with his counterparts in the party particularly his councillors over usage of campaign resources of the party in Gaborone Bonnington North where he was later humbled at the 2014 General Elections by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president Duma Boko.
Masitara for BDP chairmanship
Meanwhile the non-conformist politician has also separately confirmed to his inner circle this week that he is putting his head on the block and throwing his hat on the ring for BDP chairmanship. He is expected to face party head honchos and heavy weights including current legislator who represents Moshupa/Manyana doubling as Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi who will become president in March 2018 by virtue of his position.
Another serious contender in the race for party chairperson, whom Masitara will also contest against, is Selibe Phikwe East MP and cabinet Minister Nonofo Molefhi. Jacob Nkate is also in the race too. Masitara told his close associates that he wants to lead the BDP so as to particularly curb corruption that has been institutionalised. He said he has been threatened time and again as a legislator but believes if he leads he can execute the mandate diligently without any influence and interference.
“You see I cannot be led because I cannot do my job to the optimum level. If I am given the chance to lead BDP I will change a lot of things especially rooting out the institutionalised corruption and improving systems in place,” he said.
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.