Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) stalwarts are lobbying the party leadership to consider adopting a compromise list for July congress in order to preserve party unity leading to 2019 general elections.
Information passed to this publication indicates that there are fears within the party that in the back of opposition coalition, which was announced last week, BDP may head to the elections in the back foot. This has not been helped by the uncertainty which has surrounded Khama’s succession plans with at least more than two key figures within the party having entered the race to challenge Masisi for the party and the country’s presidency.
BDP Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane has hinted that everything may happen going forward but stated that the matter is a subject which has not been discussed by party leadership or other party structures. “No discussions because no one knows who is contesting until we receive expression of interest,” he said.
“I don’t know [if the party will consider compromise], anything is possible in politics but let’s wait for interested individuals to apply to contest Central Committee positions then we will be in a clearer light,” Ntuane further revealed and added that by next week the party would have issued an invitation to submit expressions of interest to contest by next week, of which the deadline will be on the 5th of March.
Already, former A-Team factionist ring leader, Jacob Nkate has drifted to party Chairman; Mokgweetsi Masisi’s side, giving away his chairmanship and presidential ambitions to now contest as secretary general. Nkate’s change of stance leaves Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Nonofo Molefhi and Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism as clear challengers to Masisi in July Congress and for the presidency as well.
Both men have expressed their desire to challenge Masisi, who is the apparent heir to the throne of presidency by the virtue of his position as President Ian Khama. According to the country’s constitution, a sitting VP, automatically succeeds to presidency in case the sitting President ceases to hold such a position, in case of illness, death, resignation or any circumstances. In case of Masisi, he is expected to elevate to presidency when President Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s 10-year term comes to an end in April 2018, that is, a year before the next general elections.
Although Masisi is guaranteed ascendance to the position of the presidency in 2018, there is a vacuum brought upon by the BDP constitution which allows the party to convene a congress for the purpose of electing a presidential candidate during an election year. This clause has interest many in the party, unsettling party members and stalwarts in the process. President Khama, who would leave power at the end of March next year, has been mum on the matter, allowing the events to play on their own without intervening.
In 2011 following the splitting of the party in the preceding year, Khama devised a compromise list which was endorsed by the congress at Mahalapye.Khama’s succession to the vice presidency was also marred by factional wars within the party, a situation which also threatened BDP rule after the dismal 1994 election performance.
Automatic succession dates back to late 1990’s when former Vice President, Festus Mogae succeeded Sir Quett Ketumile Masire in 1998 after 18 years of Masire’s uninterrupted rule to become the country’s third President, thanks to the then new constitutional provision which introduced a 10-year Presidential term and automatic succession.
However, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who was viewed as politically stronger than Mogae, had wanted to challenge the latter for the presidency. BDP was however able to agree on compromise list with 1997 and 1999 congresses all endorsing compromise lists. Nonetheless, Khama’s presidency has never been under threat and his has always been a smooth sail. However, the current V.P, Masisi has to contend with many opponents who are ambitious to take him down. In fact the next few weeks will be the busiest for the party as interest parties throw in their name to officially open up their campaigns.
Evidence of disunity within the party played out during the most recent by elections, two weeks ago, in which the party lost all two council seats (Palapye and Tsabong) to opposition parties; the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Weekend Post has also been informed that the loss can mainly be attributed to internal bickering between Molefhi and Masisi supporters who are finding it hard to work together during party activities. Molefhi, although on the back foot, enjoys a good will from his colleagues in parliament and a considerable number of party structures in the north. His humble and self-effacing demeanour has earned him respect within the party.
However, the introduction of Nkate on the side of Masisi tilts the scales on Masisi’s side. Nkate’s major strength is his knowledge for party structures, having been Kwelagobe’s (long time serving BDP Chairperson) successor in 2007. Nkate has also been involved in the thick of the things, the factional wars in particular.
Nkate-Masisi deal may see the former taking the country number one position in the event that the BDP successfully defend its stay in power against the now evident formidable opposition. Nkate would however first dispose his long-time nemesis, Thato Kwerepe, in Ngami constituency at the party primary elections next year.
Meanwhile Tshekedi Khama, younger brother to President Khama, has taken a mild approach, waiting for party stalwarts to do the underground work on his behalf. Tshekedi’s stature as President Khama’s brother and the country’s first President, the late Sir Seretse Khama’s son, paves way for him to the hearts of many in the central region, BDP’s stronghold and where Bangwato chieftainship has major influence.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.