The race for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) executive positions is taking shape with prominent figures making their intentions known as the ruling party’s hectic schedule kick starts in six days’ time with a Youth Wing congress.
Former party secretary general, Jacob Nkate has joined forces with Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, forming a team that will brandish Jackdish Shah as treasurer and Minister of Defence Justice and Security as the Deputy Secretary General. Shah is currently the deputy treasurer, incumbent treasurer; Satar Dada is expected to retire at the next congress.
Many observers are not surprised at the absence of current secretary general Botsalo Ntuane in Masisi’s team because of protracted differences between the two. At some stage President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama had to intervene and instruct the two to work together for the good of the party. Masisi’s campaign hopes that Nkate, who has been absent from the local political scenery for almost five years will bring the old folks from the then formidable A-team faction.
Speculation is that it has long collapsed and Nkate may find it difficult to regroup its remnants. However, Nkate’s biggest challenge remains taking on Ntuane for the position of secretary general after the latter garnered the most votes at the Mmadinare congress which ushered in Masisi as the party chairman, a position he may be compelled to defend against Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Nonofo Molefhi, who is being pursued by various interest groups inside and outside the party to make an attempt at the BDP leadership position.
Initially Nkate had presented himself as chairman aspirant whilst still ambassador in Japan, but upon his return, Masisi’s team lobbied him to drop the ceremonial role for the more operational role of secretary general, a position he has held before in the ruling party. Confirming his availability for BDP central committee, Nkate said it is true that he will contest at the July congress.
On the other camp, Molefhi’s running mate looks set to be Botsalo Ntuane. While playing his cards close to his chest as the crucial July elective congress approaches, Masisi’s camp has already allocated Ntuane to the Molefhi camp. Those close to Ntuane say he is in a soul searching journey which started in December last year and expected to last until March, the BDP vanguard will make a decision on whether to defend his position or not, this publication has been reliably informed. Asked for comment last week, Ntuane said it was too early to make pronouncements in regard the congress.
Since his election as party Secretary General in July 2015, Ntuane has had to fight for space within the party with Chairman and Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi. In an effort to consolidate his power, Masisi has taken a frontline in the recruitment drive, sidelining Ntuane in the process. The matter of conflict between Ntuane and Masisi has been down played by the party for some time now.
Molefhi’s anticipated campaign is expected to also present Jackdish Shah as the treasurer. Andy Boatile who is said to be not certain as to where he belongs, may find himself negotiating space with the Molefhi camp because Masisi’s people have a candidate in Minister Kgathi for the deputy secretary general post.
The BDP congress is expected to be one of the most highly contested because the central committee that shall emerge at the elections will take the party to the 2019 general election. The congress will come immediately after three other notable party events in the National Council billed for March; the Youth Congress expected in a week’s time; and the Women’s Wing elections. Minister Health and Wellness, Dorcas Makgato will be defending her position at the congress. The Molefhi and Masisi camps will be on the ground at these events to ensure that they keep up to pace with potential delegates at the July congress.
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.