The maverick Member of Parliament for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane was at it again this week in parliament. Moswaane who has occasionally attracted the label of dissident within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) rose on a point of order insisting that the house should discuss water crisis ravaging the southern part of the country rather than members responding to the president’s State of the Nation Address.
“Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I move that this house discuss the devastating situation of water crisis besieging residents of greater Gaborone and other parliamentary related matters be deferred,” pointed out Moswaane.
The Speaker, Gladys Kokorwe would have none of it as she bluntly told Moswaane that he was out of order. Kokorwe indicated that Moswaane, having been in parliament for a year should be well informed about the Standing Orders and how parliamentary proceedings are conducted.
According to Kokorwe, the least that Moswaane could have done was to file for a motion or question without notice than to disrupt parliamentary proceedings. The acrimonious and sour relations between Moswaane and Kokorwe seem to be far from over as a mini brawl later ensued:
“Madam Speaker, people of Tlokweng have spent 31 consecutive days without water and that is totally uncalled for. I met some people yesterday from Mmopane who visited Avani Hotel just to relieve themselves as the acute shortage of water has become unbearable. The lives of people who are on medication are under siege,” fumed Moswaane amid thunderous applause from opposition legislators.
Gaborone North legislator, Haskins Nkaigwa remarked that “the devil within the BDP was clearly manifesting”.
The visibly infuriated and impassioned Moswaane expressed his disappointment at the Speaker maintaining that parliament was the only hope for Batswana and they were expecting a lot from them as parliamentarians.
“I cannot come and enjoy my sitting allowance while people whom I represent are in a dire situation or else I will cross the floor,” avowed Moswaane whose utterances prompted legislators Biggie Butale and Botlogile Tshireletso to approach him so he calms down. The trio subsequently left parliament.
Addressing the media later on, Moswaane made it categorically clear that he will not be muzzled by anyone because he is in parliament to represent the aspiration of people. He told the media that he approached the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila and unfortunately the meeting proved futile as the former took him for granted. He later on took the issue with the BDP parliamentary caucus and he was disappointed that his colleagues too did not take him serious let alone the deteriorating situation of water crisis. He was concerned that some ministers are underperforming and there seems to be no action taken against them.
The independent minded legislator told the press that if the BDP led government does not declare water crisis as a matter of emergency, he will cross the floor as the party would have dismally failed in fulfilling the promises it made to Batswana in the last general elections.
Moswaane said he will not join any opposition party should he defect but he will rather be an independent MP as opposition parties offer nothing to Batswana. Quizzed about his hostile relations with the Speaker, Moswaane said Kokorwe’s role was not to gag legislators but to facilitate the proceedings of parliament.
“I am not her subordinate and I will never succumb to her attitude of ill-treating me. To start with, I am not paid by her or even the president so why should I worship her since I am not her puppet,” he asked rhetorically.
Sedirwa Kgoroba of Mogoditshane described Moswaane as a hypocrite of first order. He said when Phenyo Butale tabled an urgent motion on water and power crisis bedeviling the country, the same Moswaane voted against it. He said Moswaane was seeking media attention and fame amongst the electorates.
Moswaane is not the only Member of Parliament from the ruling party who has expressed concern about underperforming cabinet ministers. Biggie Butale is also disappointed that there is no action taken against ministers who fail to deliver services to the people. He gave the example that ministries occasionally return their allocated budget back to the Treasury whilst people have not received services. He described the situation as poor service delivery.
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.