Defiant and gutsy ex-speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Margaret Nasha, has vowed to skewer all her former comrades in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who ‘step on her toes’.
Speaking at her first public rally since decamping to main opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Nasha said that while she had initially intended to preach progressive politics of brotherhood, by the fall of 2016 many will be now twisting and turning from effect of the virulence of her assault.
Nasha branded the ruling party as an erratic government that thrives on vengeance. She said that President Ian Khama had schemed to neutralise the sway party strongman, Daniel Kwelagobe had in the party, highlighting his decision that barred government ministers from seeking central committee positions in the run up to the 2009 Francistown elective congress a move believed to be targeted at Kwelagobe. Kwelagobe opted to retain his chairmanship position over a ministerial post only for Khama to withdraw his decision after the elective congress.
The uncensored former Gaborone Central Parliamentarian said that her only sin in the BDP was that she was an opinionated woman. She also highlighted a period in time where BDP politicians proposed a draconian regulation that empowered Khama to arbitrarily expel individuals from the party before having faced prosecution. She said that her vehement resistance to the intended regulation that grazed on the democratic process was the turning point that marked the start of the hostility between her and Khama.
She also said that her autobiography entitled Madam Speaker Sir: Breaking the glass ceiling, only worked to worsen their already frosty relationship. Nasha said after Khama attacked her at a party conference over the supposed anti-BDP remarks carried in her memoirs, she asked him whether he had read her book and that Khama replied in the negative that he was only briefed on its content.
“We met eye to eye after he attacked me at Maharaja and asked him whether his attacks were based on what he had read. He responded that he was only briefed.”Nasha said, before continuing that, “I like leaders like Dumelang(Saleshando) and Ndaba(Gaolathe) because they read.”
She also said that there is no more debate in the BDP with only fear and loathing reigning supreme. She added that Khama came straight out of the barracks and slayed a culture of debate that flourished in the party. “He came straight out of Mogoditshane and killed intra-party debate.” she added.
Nasha also claims that Khama once chickened out in a confrontation with her over the running of Parliament which was her realm of responsibility. She says that the late Vice President, Mompati Merafhe, once came to the speaker’s office with instructions that Parliament must close its business. She says she then told Merafhe that Khama had not authority to decide on the proceedings of Parliament. She says that after a sustained back and forth she went to Khama and told him that his powers over Parliament as state President only start and end with the opening of Parliament to which Khama chickened out and denied ever sending Merafhe to close Parliament.
Nasha also likened Khama to former Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) leader Mobutu Sese Seko who would uproot the entire cabinet to accompany him in trips to remove chances of a coup in his absence. She says in one instance Khama frustrated Parliament’s efforts to assert its independence through the amendment of standing orders, by taking an entourage of government minister’s with him on a trip to Gantsi.
She also says that she had forewarned human rights lawyer Joao Salbany that he will be deported for taking up her case if he had not yet taken up citizenship of the country.
Nasha also said that as a matter of factly the court case that ensued before the election of parliamentary speaker in 2015 was aimed at her. She claims that attorney Parks Tafa slapped her with summons papers at her house on Election Day stating that she must amend the standing orders to expunge the secret ballot vote. She says that the papers stated her, the clerk of parliament and parliamentary counsel as defendants and all the while she knew that it was contained in the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act that a speaker of parliament cannot be sued on basis of her time in office.
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.