Naledi Khama was buried this week. She was 90 years old. The humble royal was the only sister of the late Botswana founding President Sir Seretse Khama. She was the only remaining child of Sekgoma II and Tebogo Sekgoma, and granddaughter to Khama the Great.
She passed on this past Tuesday (04 May 2016) and was buried on Friday (06 May 2016). She is survived by her two sons, one a former Minister and another serving as a nominated councillor.
Commonly referred to as Mmashimane in Serowe, Naledi has seen it all. She married her cousin, Lenyeletse Seretse who was made Vice President by Sir Ketumile Masire when Seretse, her brother died; her son Dikgakgamatso Ndelu Seretse has served as a senior Minister in the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security; and her nephew, Dr Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama is the current President of the Republic. Former President Seretse Khama was also paramount chief of Bangwato, and so is President Khama.
To some Naledi Khama’s death marks the end of an era in the social sense in that she was the last surviving direct elderly relative of President Dr Lt Gen Khama. She was a key player in the royal family because her closeness and relation to the late former President, Seretse. She is known to have supported Seretse in his bid to defend his marriage to Ruth Khama during the colonial era.
In an interview she gave to a local publication in 2012 on how she reacted in 1998 when her nephew, Lt Gen Ian Khama joined politics and later became the Vice President and subsequently the President of the Republic in 2008, Naledi Khama responded: “He is my brother’s son I am the first person to advise him! I told him that not everyone would accept his leadership style. He follows in his father’s footsteps in the way that he does not discriminate against other people. He treats everyone equally. That is how you build the nation, and is on the right track in doing that.”
Mmashimane was very popular in the Serowe social circles. She had a Regimental singing group which was dear to her heart. She was instrumental in the preparations and hosting of Serowe centenary celebrations. In demonstration of the love she had for her late brother, Naledi Khama worked hard to have a statue of Seretse Khama erected in Serowe. She was assisted in the project by the Minister of Infrastructure Science and Technology, Nonofo Molefhi.
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.