Mokgweetsi Masisi, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman and Vice President recently slammed rumours that former presidents, Quett Masire and Festus Mogae are on the verge of quitting the ruling party to join deputy speaker Dr Margaret Nasha in the opposition ranks.
There are fears the current stand-off between BDP old guards and the current administration will lead to the former leaving the party in favour of opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in particular.
Dr Nasha who served under President Masire and Mogae as Specially elected Member of Parliament on two occasions and as MP for Gaborone Central tendered her resignation on last week Friday.
She has since joined BDP splinter party Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) which is a member of UDC.
Masisi told journalists earlier this week that the party does not think the two former Presidents who have held divergent views from the current administration will quit.
He conceded though that the party was expecting Dr Nasha’s resignation following a tumultuous relationship with President Lt Gen Ian Khama towards the end of the10th Parliament while she was the speaker of the national assembly.
Nasha became the Speaker of Nationally Assembly after Khama endorsed her candidature, becoming the first woman to hold that position since independence. However, their relationship experienced a back flip when she strived for a wholly independent parliament to the pleasure of all MPs.
The 10th Parliament is probably the most effective Parliament as far as oversight role is concerned. Under the speakership of Dr Nasha, key investigations of maladministration in quasi-government institutions like Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) and Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) were put under probe by Parliamentary Committees.
The watershed moment was the release of Dr. Nasha’s book ‘Madam Speaker Sir!’ which criticised Khama’s leadership and labelled him as a ‘dictator.’
Khama went ahead to nominate former cabinet Minister Gladys Kokorwe following the 2014 general elections fiasco which led to a court case over the endorsement and election of the Vice President and Speaker of the National Assembly respectively.
Masisi revealed that the actions of Nasha prior to her resignation indicated that she was on her way out but ruled out the possibility of former Presidents following suit.
He said the role Masire and Mogae played in the BDP and government makes it impossible for them to join the opposition bandwagon.
The Vice President said that Masire is the only surviving man of those who met at the famous morula tree in 1962 where BDP was formed.
“At 90 years, we don’t think Rra-Gaone [Masire] will find any reason to defect to opposition,” he stated.
Masisi also mentioned Mogae’s illustrious career as a senior civil servant in a BDP led government. Masisi noted that Mogae had held post such as Economic Planning Officer, Director of Economic Affairs, Governor of Bank of Botswana, Permanent Secretary and Vice President of Botswana before becoming president which exudes his commitment to the ruling party.
Both Masire and Mogae are continual absentees from BDP activities in recent years. The duo did not attend any of the party’s two congresses last year.
Meanwhile Masire has attended at least one UDC event in Gaborone where, BMD hosted a memorial dinner for departed leader Gomolemo Motswaledi.
Mogae has openly criticised his successor’s policies both in international forums and on local media.
The frustrated former President was on record saying ‘Botswana has regressed and the current administrations does not respect the rule of law,’ a bitter pill to swallow for Khama’s government.
Ever since 2014, in the lead up to the crucial general elections the two former presidents have continued to criticise government and Khama’s leadership, Mogae being more vehement of the two.
Recently, Masire told the media that government was on a mission to sabotage him after refusing to buy his zebras despite promising to do so.
Masire announced recently that he had lost 89 Zebras to thirst and excessive heat.
Masire has defiantly ignored calls made to silence him rather contending that his name and those of his stalwarts is so easily, cheaply and wantonly dragged in the mud by fellows who were “either boys, toddlers or yet unborn, when fundamentals or principles that were to be corner stones of BDP policy or philosophy were crafted”.
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.