BDP MP Eric Molale with Phenyo Butale, Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone Central
Members of opposition in Parliament are likely to drag the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leaders to the High Court over the nomination of Eric Molale as a Specially Elected Member of the National Assembly.
Members of opposition who voiced their rejection of Molale’s appointment this week insist that the nomination procedure that brought Molale back to Parliament reek of fraud and needs to be investigated further and ultimately settled through the other arm of government, that is, the judiciary.
“The process that brought Honourable Molale back to this house was fraudulent. The law says only MPs can nominate names of candidates…We are sitting here with an MP who was elected through a process that is not legal!” lamented Phenyo Butale, Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone Central.
Butale, of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) together with other opposition MPs tried in vain early this week to get the Speaker of Parliament to reveal the names of MPs who nominated Molale for appointment. Their suspicion is that Molale is President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s choice and was imposed on the majority BDP MPs who were compelled to tow the line and vote for him so as to please their leader.
However what the Opposition is likely to request the court to do, is to compel the Speaker to release the names of MPs who nominated candidates for the position of Special election post. The candidates included, Eric Molale and Botsalo Ntuane both of the BDP, Dumelang Saleshando of Botswana Congress Party and Shampoo Shadikong Matshediso of the UDC. More reasons why the opposition is holding the Speaker answerable in this matter is the fact that both former MPs, Ntuane and Saleshando who suffered a humiliating defeat during the ballot of the said position maintain that they never consented to the nomination.
“The President has the prerogative to choose anybody he wishes to become special elected member of the house, but the name has to be endorsed by elected MPs. However the lack of transparency during nomination of names is what is creating the current status quo. The whole process is questionable and open to abuse,” added Butale on the sidelines.
The constitution allows for four positions of specially elected MPs. Ideally the four representatives are to be chosen to close the gap of the marginalised groups such as people with disability, financially disadvantaged groups like women and youth, minority groups such as under-represented tribes like Basarwa and others.
However, in most cases the President of the ruling Party is seemingly using the window to balance his party’s political interest and reward his favourite candidates who lost after elections.
Currently all the specially elected MPs, except Kenneth Matambo are made up of losers from the 2014 general elections. They include, the Minister of Minerals, Water and Energy Resources, Kitso Mokaila who lost the Goodhope-Mabule Constituency to James Mathokgwane of the UDC, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale who lost to Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of UDC following a by election in the same constituency this year, and the Minister of Education, Dr Unity Dow who lost to Gilbert Mangole of UDC in Mochudi West.
The criterion used by the President to appoint the specially elected MPs has left the opposition frustrated and currently they want to contest Molale’s appointment as an effective way of protest as they do not have the numbers to over-rule the majority BDP MPs in Parliament.
For Molepolole North MP, Mohammed Khan, President Khama’s mistakes are due to ignorance and lack of foresight of the people who put him in power. “The President said he is not a Politician, then why put him in the highest office of the land! Take a mechanic, put him in hospital and make him a doctor! It is stupidity at its best.”
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.