The President of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), who is also president of Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Johannes Tshukudu is a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) card carrying member.
Observers in the labour movement say this development negate claims that unionists are against the ruling party – but rather they are against the oppressive polices of the ruling party.
However there are others who are expressing sentiments that Tshukudu is a hypocrite because he is understood to be harbouring the ambition of challenging Gilbert Mangole in Mochudi West under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ticket in primaries ahead of the 2019 general election despite the fact that he is a BDP card carrying member.
Tshukudu is currently fighting for his survival in the labour movement on two fronts. First he has to deal with the potential transfer from Tlokweng College to a non-teaching post which will automatically remove him from Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) contention.
He successfully challenged his transfer in court and was granted a temporary interdict because his employer had not followed due process in transferring him. Second in his battles is that he is facing a tough election contest against Kenathata Dipogiso for the presidency of the BTU.
The BTU presidential campaign is littered with mudslinging and provocative gambits. Tshukudu’s camp is accusing Dipogiso and his team of being sponsored by Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) with the ultimate goal being to pull out of BOFEPUSU while Dipogiso’s team has lined up a litany of Tshukudu’s failures during his presidency.
The BOFEPUSU president may find himself in a position where he has to explain himself to his colleagues at the Federation because of his alleged membership to the BDP. BOFEPUSU has on several public statements aligned its agenda with the opposition UDC and has mounted campaigns against ruling party Members of Parliament and Ministers who are seen to be against workers.
WeekendPost has gathered that Tshukudu’s BDP membership was quickly conjured in 2013 when he was facing a challenge at his work place. The majority of BOFEPUSU leaders have pushed themes that are fuelled by anti-BDP rhetoric and Tshukudu has not been left behind.
Contacted for comment, the BDP’s executive secretary confirmed that they have a Johannes Tshukudu in their membership data base.
For his part Tshukudu said that party membership is an issue for respective individuals that has nothing to do with his mandate as a unionist. He further said that as a public officer he cannot wade into partisan issues and such will be discussed when the time comes.
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.