The much-talked about opposition coalition,Umbrella for Democratic Change,UDC has shocked many, wiping out both their counterpart ,Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and rival party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the Gaborone area and several other constituencies.
The gains by the UDC mean that the party will continue to lead Gaborone City Council (GCC) ending several attempts by the BDP to topple them prior to the elections. The party has also managed to throw in several councillors in different District Councils.
The BCP and the UDC had entered into a war of words over the Umbrella project and many said that the main contest doesn’t involve the BDP but these two parties. Results have shown that the UDC, which enjoyed the backing of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has proved its worth, winning several seats parliamentary and local government seats.
The union recently declared war on the BCP for allegedly betraying the opposition parties’ cooperation project. The Federation said it wanted to end the BDP’s alleged abuse of the working class. The BCP had said they are ready for any post-elections cooperation. But the defeat has eroded any bargaining power that the BCP could have harboured.
It is not clear what the way forward for the divided union will be. While the pro-hit list leaders would have loved to see their initiative succeed, for the anti-hit list, it may as well be a classic case of ‘we told you so.’ There have been concerns that the Federation could face a tough life post the elections owing to its pre-election position against the ruling party.
The relationship between the Federation and the ruling party will dominate relations going forward. While some predict sour relations following the union’s massive and sustained support for the UDC, some observers say it may be the perfect time for the BDP to redeem itself following a torturous and uncertain elections year owing to the people’s anger.
The results indicate that the BCP has suffered a major setback losing grip on several seats accross the country.
Batswana of an alternative view chose to rally behind the UDC which launched a very strong campaign in the home run. It focused on the ground or contact campaign and in social media. The BDP has not dissapointed either, proving that it is still a force to reckon with, winning several seats contrary to popular believe that this elections might lead to a hung parliament. The opposition parties had already agreed to work together in case of a hung parliament.
The UDC has expressed excitement at their perfomance as a new comer. The loss of the BCP and that of its senior members of Parliament has been a cause for celebration for the UDC. While some observers say this may signal the end of BCP others posit that it is too early to tell.
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.