The power grubbing frenzy in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has reached new dizzying heights as the number of contenders for its youth leadership has both broken party convention and continues to swell by the day.
A circulating runners list indicates that the headcount of the BDP youth leadership race is cast to rival the number of their elders involved in the tense battle for control of the mother party. Additional candidates are expected to emerge from the shadows to challenge current party chairman, Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency, when President Ian Khama stands down.
Historically in the mother party, the bloated figure of the youth leadership contenders has also broken party convention as it originally used to be two opponents and their factions jockeying for the control of the youth wing leadership.
The Youth Presidency figure has already hit the seven figure mark while runners for the coming contest are said to include Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi’s son, Ronnie Kgathi and former BDP Chairman Daniel Kwelagobe’s son, Kagiso Kwelagobe.
Those vying for the National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) Presidency include youth entrepreneur Bruce Nkgakile, Ronnie Kgathi, Simon Mavhange, Fox Segwai, Collen Mochotlhi,Vuyo Yane as well as Thabo Autlwetse.
Autlwetse is the previous challenger for the same position in the past election and was soundly defeated by Andy Boatile, who it is believed will not seek a third mandate.
The Vice Presidency is set to be contested by Kabo Saif and Alison Moses Mogaekwa while the Secretary General position will be competed for by Toy Wetsho and Lesego Kwambala.
The Deputy Secretary General’s position will be vied for by Kobamo Mokgathi while Segomotso Kabomo will stand for the political education post.
Positions of Information Officer will be contested by Otsile Machona and Arnold Phaladi while Neo Molwantwa and Kagiso Kwelagobe will slug it out for Fundraising and Projects Officer.
Those who have pinned hopes on the additional membership bracket are Coca Ramotsupe, Portia Hadinga and Mpho Olefhile.
Meanwhile, the country’s Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is also said to be fending off a potentially stiff contest by Selibe Phikwe East legislator and Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Nonofo Molefhi through the employ underhanded political machinations.
So far, former legislator for Bonnington North constituency, Robert Masitara and onetime Serowe South constituency legislator, Tebelelo Seretse have declared their candidature.
President Ian Khama’s younger brother and Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, has also confirmed that if cajoled enough by fellow party men he will step into the ring. One time BDP youth leader and current Botswana ambassador to Japan, Jacob Nkate, is also said to be harbouring intentions to challenge Masisi for the party presidency.
In the run up to BDP’s 2015 Mmadinare Congress party convention was also shattered by the never seen before number of candidates who were also challenging Masisi for the party chairmanship.
They included Tebelelo Seretse, Biggie Butale, Ramadeluka Seretse, Moemedi Dijeng and former BDP youth wing leader Seteng Motalaote.
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.