Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is watching with keen interest the events unfolding in its splinter party Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) with the hope of luring disgruntled members back into the party.
BDP Secretary General and former Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Vice President, Botsalo Ntuane has urged party members to ‘return home’ in the wake of infightings in the BMD instigated by the return of Sidney Pilane.
This publication has established that BDP is readying to poach from the BMD should the party fail to unite after the much anticipated party congress in 2017. Sources indicate that if the impasse within the party remains unresolved, the party may call for a special congress.
Ntuane, who is a BMD founding member and held the position of leader of the opposition in parliament, returned to BDP in 2012 to rekindle his relationship with his childhood political party.
At BMD’s inaugural congress, Ntuane was elected the party’s vice president, Ndaba Gaolathe was elected National Policy Director. The two were unopposed for the positions.
Meanwhile Pilane lost the contest for the party presidency against the late Gomolemo Motswaledi. Both Ntuane and Gaolathe supported Motswaledi’s candidacy against Pilane.
“From the outside, looking in it is clear there is existential debate for the control of the BMD between two entrenched factions and in our estimate things will get worse before they get better, that’s if they do,” he told a press conference this week.
“Prospects of the BMD suffering a split are therefore not farfetched in the prevailing circumstances.”
Part of the impasse with the BMD was caused by a unilateral decision by the Modubule-Mangole controlled party National Executive Committee (NEC) to re-admit Pilane into the BMD. After prevailing over the Gaolathe-Mmolotsi faction in the Pilane re-admission, the duo went on to appoint Pilane as chief negotiator in the anticipated opposition cooperation talks.
The decision has irked both party faithful and Gaolathe’s team as the two continue to frustrate the party leader and his faction.
The BDP Secretary General also remarked that owing to the infightings within the BMD, the opposition cooperation will never happen.
The cooperation talks were billed to start at the beginning of April this year. There were fears that the developments in the BMD were likely to delay the talks.
BMD is a constituent of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), alongside Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BDP) with prospects of including Botswana Congress Party (BCP) underway. BMD contributed nine legislators to UDC in the 2014 general elections.
BCP’s decision to warm up to UDC cooperation is said to have worried the ruling party more so that the party emerged from the last general elections with dismal performance albeit returning to power, owing to split vote in the opposition.
‘We therefore call on BMD members who left the BDP to return home. The door remains open and they are welcome anytime. The same applies to BMD members who were never in the BDP; they too are equally welcome to take membership of the BDP,” Ntuane said.
BDP is targeting BMD activists as the party seeks to bolster its electoral success ahead of the crucial 2019 general elections.
The situation in the BMD has reached a crisis level, with factions warring for the control of the party and defying each other.
At the beginning of the this week, Gaolathe consolidated his grip as a team faithful to him emerged victorious at the party Women’s League Congress held in Mahalapye. Joyce Mothudi defeated incumbent, Ivory Keeke for the presidency of the women’s wing. Keeke is loyal to the faction vying for Pilane’s presidential bid.
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.