Ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has moved to make amends with tribal leaders in a gambit intended to pull them to their ranks and counter the opposing Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s influence ahead of 2019 general elections.
Two weeks ago, BDP welcomed to its ranks Mmusi Kgafela, the young brother to Bakgatla chief, Kgafela Kgafela II. The move is intended to neutralise the influence of UDC in Kgatleng following government fallout with Bakgatla chieftainship in years leading to the 2014 general elections, reliable sources have indicated.
According to impeccable sources, BDP had made efforts to coax Batlokwa chief, Puso Gaborone to join the party and contest the upcoming bye-elections under their ticket. BDP’s efforts however were not successful, as the Batlokwa chief decided against joining active politics.
BDP secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane has however denied that the ruling party has lost the support of tribal leaders to opposition parties. “We assume Dikgosi of different communities in Botswana are apolitical until they publicly state otherwise. So far I know of only three; Kgosi Khama IV [President Ian Khama] of BDP, Kgosi Lotlamoreng Montshioa II and Kgosi Tawana Moremi II of UDC respectively. Now BDP has Morena Mmusi. With these examples how is BDP losing support of Dikgosi?” he said.
“As for Kgosi Puso Gaborone I have no knowledge of him being recruited apart from idle bar gossip. But like any citizen he is free to join politics subject to necessary protocols,” Ntuane stated. Ntuane has however admitted that in Kgatleng, the stand-off between government and Kgatleng tribal leaders has contributed to the party’s poor showing in the 2014 general elections. He also concurred that Kgafela’s arrival could be used to enhance the party’s chance in 2019.
Kgafela is reportedly going to contest for the Mochudi West constituency, a constituency currently held by UDC’s Gilbert Mangole. In trying to make amends with Bakgatla tribe last year, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane, begun a consultation process with the tribe in order to pave way for Kgosi Kgafela II’s return.
BDP had a difficult campaigning period in 2014 in Kgatleng following the acrimonious relationship between Bakgatla paramount chief and government. Subsequent to court battles with government, Kgafela II went on exile in South Africa, where he is currently residing. This was not before he was de-recognised by government as the tribal leader of Bakgatla.
In the aftermath of the 2014 general elections BDP lost both constituencies with Mangole and Isaac Davids of UDC defeating Unity Dow and Rev Mpho Moruakgomo for the two constituencies respectively. Kgatleng has however been a stronghold of Botswana National Front (BNF) with Kgosi Linchwe being credited with helping in the formation of the party.
On the other hand BDP’s traditional strongholds are in the Central district, previously known as Gammangwato Reserve during the colonial time. The Central District fell under the jurisdiction of Bangwato chieftainship, therefore BDP profited from the tribesmen goodwill when Seretse Khama founded the party in 1962.
Although BDP remains strong in the central district, the scales have been tilting in some other parts of the country. Opposition UDC have been enjoying the backing of tribal leaders in recent years, boasting two Paramount chiefs in its ranks in parliament; Kgosi Tawana II of Bakgatla and Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of Barolong.
Prior to defecting to Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in 2011, Maun West constituency had never been in the hands of opposition parties. Kgosi Tawana II who joined politics amid controversy, first tried his luck in 2003 but was vetted out from contesting. He would successfully try his luck for the second time at the 2009 general elections under a BDP ticket, but later defected to BDP’s splinter party, Botswana Movement for Democracy, which Botsalo Ntuane was among its founding members. BMD is a member party to UDC.
In 2015, Barolong Chief, Lotlaamoreng agreed to contest a bye-election under UDC. The post was left vacant by the resignation of then MP for Goodhope-Mabule, James Matlhokgwane. Lotlaamoreng won the subsequent bye-election, defeating Eric Molale of BDP. The BDP has tried to use UDC gambit at Tlokweng for the incoming bye-election but was unable to convince the youthful Bakgatla chief. Tlokweng has been in the hands of opposition since its creation in 2004.
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.