Immediate former president, Festus Mogae has been appointed as a Special Envoy to campaign for Botswana candidate Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi in her run for the position of chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission.
Moitoi, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC)roped in the former president in her campaign following developments that she is facing stiff competition from other contestants and African equivalents.
Botswana Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Botswana to the African Union, Mmamosadinyana Molefe confirmed Mogae’s engagement in Moitoi’s campaign.
“Yes it is true that Mogae has been appointed to help campaign for Moitoi,” Molefe told WeekendPost in a telephonic interview this week. The Addis Ababa based plenipotentiary said Mogae was roped-in so that he can talk to and persuade high level people and countries to vote for the Botswana candidate.
Molefe stated that Mogae has already started executing his mandate to canvass for votes for Moitoi. As a Botswana diplomat she also is assisting Moitoi in the campaign at Ethiopia where the AU headquarters is located.
The former Botswana president is brought in at a time international media reports are abound that all the current candidates contesting for the AU chair portfolio may be some way below par and that moves are afoot to find someone better.
Unconfirmed reports further indicate that the former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and current Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra are being considered.
In addition to Botswana candidate Moitoi, aged 65, who was endorsed by Southern African Development Community (SADC) earlier this year, are other candidates including Specioza Kazibwe, 60, who hails from the East African country of Uganda and Agapito Mokuy, 51, from Equatorial Guinea located in Central Africa.
Both Moitoi and Mokuy are currently serving as Foreign Affairs ministers in their respective countries, while Kazibwe has prior operated at a level of a Vice president at his country (Uganda).
In the campaign it appears it’s not smooth sailing for Botswana as the issue of its rooftop diplomacy is proving to backfire. The ‘insignificant’ landlocked country with a population of 2 million has been accused of punching above its weight.
According to eNCA: “SADC is arguing that it should get the chair because Dlamini-Zuma will not be serving a second term. But South African official sources say they fear Venson-Moitoi will not win because the rest of Africa does not like Botswana’s foreign policy. This includes its firm support for the International Criminal Court, which the AU has rejected as biased towards Africa.”
Apart from Botswana nominee, it said both Mokuy and Kazibwe are also not seen as serious contenders. In particular, Mokuy is indicted because of her country’s human rights record (Equatorial Guinea) and Kazibwe is seen as just a “not strong enough” candidate.
Speaking to WeekendPost from Rwanda where she is currently canvassing for votes, the Serowe South law maker and Botswana candidate for Africa’s highest position rubbed off reports that they are somehow not fit enough for the portfolio.
“Am not bothered by those reports as it’s their opinions and they are entitled to it,” she pointed out in a telephonic interview with this publication. According to Moitoi, the contest is set and they are busy campaigning, “everything is just going according to plan,” she asserted with much confidence.
The Botswana ambassador to Ethiopia Molefe also echoed Moitoi’s sentiments, “Our campaign as a country is going well.” She added that they had the presence of Minister Moitoi “on Monday this week at Ethiopia and the meeting was successful as high placed people from other countries came in large numbers to hear Botswana candidate’s message of the campaign” adding that she believes they will lend them support at the elections. “The race is ongoing and there is no problem at all,” she insisted to this publication.
The elections for AU chairperson will be held during the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU, which is scheduled to take place from July 17-18 in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
The new candidate will replace Dr.Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who is not seeking re-election after serving for 4 years since July 2012. She took over from Dr Jean Ping (2008 to 2012)who hailed from Gabon.
Mali’s former President Alpha Oumar Konaré also served in the position between September 2003 and February 2008 and succeeded Mr Amara Essy of Ivory Coast (2002) who reigned as the Interim Chair.
As Chief Executive of the Commission, the AU chairperson runs a continental commission that includes a Deputy Chairperson and eight commissioners of Peace and Security, Political Affairs, Trade and Industry, Infrastructure and Energy, Social Affairs, Rural Economy and Agriculture, Human Resources, Science and Technology and Economic Affairs.
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.