The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) agree that the need for cooperation among them is urgent. UDC president Duma Boko told journalists at a media briefing on Friday that BCP President Dumelang Saleshando agrees that the matter must be dealt with urgently.
The gallant performance of the UDC has given those opposed to the ruling BDP that there is a chance for usurping power. The UDC is not planning to disband following the general elections and the party leaders insist that the party was not formed solely for the purpose of the eleventh Parliament.
The UDC Vice President (V.P) Ndaba Gaolathe stressed this week in an interview that the three opposition parties, Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) united under the UDC not for temporary purpose of the just ended general election, but because there was need to unite the opposition. Boko informed the media on Friday that they expect the BCP to take steps to join in at the right time.
“Even in our agreement it does not show that it was done specifically for the 2014 general elections. This is an evolution and like any evolution we get better with time,” pointed out Ndaba who doubles as the BMD President and a member of parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South.
The UDC was formed in 2013 at the influence of the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) following a historic two months long public sector strike.
Meanwhile Duma Boko believes that the UDC would take opposition to victory in the next general elections expected in five years’ time. “The UDC is a political entity dually registered by the register of society. It will continue to grow with the support of its affiliate members,” Boko explained.
Boko is also the President of the BNF and a newly elected Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North.
The UDC has seen both BNF and BMD win seventeen Parliamentary seats with BMD holding ten seats and the BNF seven. In total the UDC holds 115 Council seats around the country.
Khama congratulated Boko Boko revealed that President Khama called him and congratulated him following the performance of the UDC in the just ended election cycle. He said the president has promised to work with the opposition in the interest of the public. He said Khama also promised to meet opposition Members of Parliament to engage them on national issues.
The UDC president also promised to work with President Khama to ensure that national ideals are pushed forward. Still on engagement with other leaders, Boko said he has received a message of congratulation from BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando who is also supportive of a united opposition going ahead of the 2019 elections. The UDC leader declared that he is a leftist by orientation and will never join the ruling BDP.
Opposition supports Nasha for Speaker The main opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are clear on their choice for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. Boko indicated that they have Margaret Nasha as Speaker and Abram Kesupile as her deputy.
“Parliament will be a battle of ideas not of blood and dust. We prefer that Madam Nasha becomes speaker and that her deputy is Kesupile. It is a realistic position. The understanding that the best two at to work is to give and take. Nasha is very experienced. We note her passion for the independence of parliament and we think we should assist her. She is very fair and firm. We think that is the type of speaker this parliament will need,” said Boko.
President Khama has taken Parliament and all political parties represented in Parliament to court over the process through which the election of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Vice President is conducted. He wants it to be done by show of hands while Parliamentary Standing Orders dictate that it be done through a secret ballot.
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.