A war of words has erupted between the youth leagues of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The bone of contention is the interference of other contracting parties in the affairs of the other especially during elective congresses. UDC is a coalition of three political parties, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP).
BNF Youth League spokesperson, Malatsi Mokhubami told this publication in an interview that they were deeply disturbed by the way the youth specifically those from BMD were meddling in the internal affairs of their party.
He singled out BMD activist, Thatayaone Gaboitaolelwe and Councillor Sesupo Jacobs as ring leaders of factionalism within UDC insisting that the duo are fond of poking their noses in the internal affairs of the BNFYL.
“Through our secretary general, Arafat Khan, we have already written a letter of complaint to the secretariat, citing our displeasure at which some youth within BMD are conducting themselves. We are pleading with our fellow comrades at BMD to desist from making any commentary or be involved covertly or overtly in anything to do with BNF,” he stated.
In response, BMD Youth league president, Phenyo Segokgo said it was unfortunate that some members of his party were out of order by being involved in the matters relating to the BNF. “Even though three political parties are affiliated to the UDC; each party is independent, has its own constitution, ideology and unique administration and we must respect that. I am going to reprimand all those who are undermining the rules and regulations of the party and I will not hesitate to take further disciplinary action,” Segokgo told this publication.
BNFYL will hold its decisive elective congress in May. Though the outgoing committee is yet to issue a writ of elections, information reaching Weekend Post suggests that Kago Mokotedi and Khumoekae Richard will vie for the presidency. This publication understands that the current BNFYL vice president, Kagiso Thutlwe will be contesting for secretary general against one Mabote Mabote while Malatsi Mokhubami will defend his position as the spokesperson.
An insider within the BNFYL told this publication that warring factions are evolving between Mokotedi loyalists and Richard supporters. He further implied that majority of high ranking BMD members are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that Richard wins the presidency while Kago Mokotedi has the support of influential and powerful people within the BNF.
Kago Mokotedi, one of the BNFYL presidential aspirants told Weekend Post in an interview that there was a party within BMD called OTP, an acronym for ‘Operation Tsaya Puso’, which had embarked on a mission to annihilate UDC. Though he could not disclose members of that ‘party’, Mokotedi said this movement has been fuelling divisions within UDC all along.
“This brief party within BMD promotes factionalism and bickering and it has suffered embarrassing defeat in all elective congresses of respective UDC affiliates. This party caused fracas at BMDYL elections that was held at Mochudi and now they are using tribalism to instil divisions amongst youth of BNF but I must warn them that they will not succeed because BNF is an old organization with revolutionary discipline,” remarked Mokotedi.
On the contrary, impeccable sources at BMD told this publication that last year at the Mochudi congress, some members of BNF youth league made it clear publicly that they supported Phenyo Segokgo and in the process they were implicated in electoral irregularities. “Within BMD there are two factions, Calm Voice and OTP and the latter lost elections at Mochudi and Ghanzi respectively because of BNF involvement in BMD electoral process. Now it is our chance to infiltrate BNF so that our preferred candidates may win,” contended a BMD member who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Reached for comment, political analyst, Dr. Kaelo Molefe said the friction between UDC youth leagues will not derail opposition cooperation. He observed that factions usually arise during elective congresses because of election fever and after elections, everything returns to normal.
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.