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BNF regions reject UDC card

The newly introduced Umbrella for democratic Change membership card is rocking the boat at metamorphosing government in waiting. The secretary general of the UDC, Ndaba Gaolathe has written a letter to contracting parties inviting them to apply for individual membership of the Umbrella but not all have been all ears.

Some of the contracting parties are crying out loud about the lack of consultation in formulating such an idea; while others are celebrating the shift, which they say will kill the individual brands and bolster the Umbrella instead. At the engaged partner, Botswana Congress Party (BCP), conspiracy theories are awash, with some being of the view that they are being rejected even before the talks.

Botswana National Front (BNF) secretary general was in the Kweneng and Southern regions over the past weekend and party members did not mince their words in rejecting the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) card. The BNF congress had resolved against disbanding the party and some party members see the latest move as a step towards attempting to disband the BNF.

The BNF Youth League released a statement through President Richard Khumoekae supporting the card. But indications are that the League is divided but that would not show because their affiliation to BNF president Duma Boko negates any attempt to speak against the card. The BNF central committee has not met to discuss the matter either. Some within the BNF are wondering as to why the rush to push the membership card before concluding talks with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).

Weekend Post spoke to two BNF MPs, six councillors and two central committee members who are objectionable to the card. They are worried that consultation was not carried out and they have to answer to party members to what some see as a plan to disband BNF covertly. 

At the BMD it is a similar story the NEC is divided with party President Ndaba Gaolathe’s faction in support of the card. But the secretary general, Gilbert Mangole and his group are clear; they do not support the card because there has not been constructive engagement on the matter at the party. They are of the view that the move is part of grand plan to use the UDC to fight BMD battles.

While Gaolathe indicates that the membership card is open to all members of the UDC, Boko contends that only 1000 membership cards will be issued for fundraising purposes. The belief within the UDC has always been that parties are affiliates of the UDC since inception and the BNF has always been against individual membership within the UDC. On social media the card appears to have support, but it is the people on the ground who are expressing reservations against it.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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