Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President and former Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando has dismissed Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s political credentials, saying he has no legacy to speak of.
Speaking to this publication on Thursday, Saleshando said Masisi is the first vice president in the history of Botswana to proclaim himself as the next president. “None of the previous vice presidents declared himself as the next president,” he said. “It shows Masisi lacks confidence and knows that there are many in the BDP who could challenge him.”
Saleshando, who served two terms as MP, said Masisi is proclaiming himself as the next president to ward off competition from potential challengers because he has no record of achievement to speak for him.
He said the elevation of Masisi to presidency in 2018 will be an advantage to opposition because politically speaking Masisi is weak. “BDP will be at its weakest and it will be led by the weakest president in its history,” he remarked.
The former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament (MP) pointed out that, Masisi has no legacy to speak of ever since being appointed Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration following the 2009 general elections. “Masisi has headed the most powerful ministries [Ministry of State President and Ministry of Education] in the executive yet he has no legacy to show off,” he contended.
Saleshando said opposition parties have no reason to fear Masisi because of his track record in politics.
BCP is currently engaging Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) for cooperation with the view of ending BDP’s 54 year rule.
Masisi has been tasked with spearheading BDP’s ambitious plan known as Economic Stimulus Package (ESP), which seeks among others to stimulate the economy and create more jobs.
Saleshando said the hyped ESP will decide Masisi’s destiny and possibly lead to his downfall. “Before the end of this year, the glorified ESP will prove to be a disaster,” he said.
Masisi has confidently told this publication that ESP will transform the economy and address problems such as unemployment.
Masisi was exalted to the position of Vice President in November 2014 following the 2014 general elections in which BDP retained power amid worst electoral performance.
Masisi rose through the ranks, initially as Assistant Minister in the Office of the President, before being appointed a full minister at the beginning of 2011 following the departure of Lesego Motsumi, who resigned to take an ambassadorial post in India.
In 2014, in a total cabinet re-shuffle, Masisi was moved to lead Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD). He was again appointed to the Ministry subsequent to 2014 general elections, before assuming the Vice Presidency.
Reports were thick that Masisi is merely a stopgap and may be replaced before President Lieutenant General Ian Khama leaves office in 2019. Masisi has since quashed such reports, affirming that he will succeed Khama in 2019.
President Khama will leave office at the end of March in 2018, nearly two years from now. If he succeeds Khama, Masisi will become the Botswana’s fifth President since independence and the second after Mogae to have served only one term as vice president before assuming the throne.
Sources close to the BDP indicated that a number of leading figures within the BDP are readying to challenge Masisi in 2019. Names like; Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and President Khama’s brother has been tipped to challenge Masisi.
Nonofo Molefhi, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology has also been touted as a serious challenger to Masisi in 2019. Molefhi was reportedly the popular choice amongst BDP MPs to become vice president, however Khama chose Masisi instead.
Former party factionalist and Khama’s ally Jacob Nkate has also been peddle as potential presidential candidate in 2019.
According to BDP constitution Article 29.1, when the party is in power, the President of the party shall be elected by secret ballot at a National Congress of the party called by the central committee during every general election year.
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.