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UDC rejects disgruntled BCP members…

UDC halts recruiting from BCP

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has taken a decision not to entertain recruitment of members from the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with the view of protecting and respecting the imminent cooperation talks. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) predatory attitude towards the BCP has drawn it closer to UDC.

With BCP facing instability in recent times, party members have been decamping in search of new political homes amid disagreement with party leadership over a lot of issues. The bone of contention has been the delicate issue of opposition cooperation.

UDC president Duma Boko revealed recently at a press briefing that they have now adopted a cautious stand when dealing with recruitment of new members to avoid poaching from the BCP. The Leader of the Opposition said the party has deliberately taken that stand to avoid fuelling enmity between UDC and BCP.

Boko said at this point UDC will not celebrate the instability of BCP but will rather advise those members seeking to join UDC to go back to the party and find a solution. The Gaborone Bonnington North lawmaker said there is a tendency of members attacking the former party once they exchange party colours which he said will not be healthy for UDC-BCP relationship.

Boko, who is also the President of Botswana National Front (BNF) said the UDC will rejoice only in welcoming BDP members into their fold, and said that should be the focus of the party going forward. Boko is adamant that very soon the two parties will be able to sit in a negotiation table and commence the cooperation talks once again.

The first step towards opposition unity will be the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on bye-elections for the two parties to pledge support for one another in the event that a council or parliamentary seat falls vacant and results in a call for a bye-election. The two parties will support the party which got better votes between themselves in that ward or constituency in the general elections.

BCP rejected UDC’s request not to contest in the recent Goodhope-Mabule bye-election citing the latter’s last minute request as the reason for disapproval. However, UDC went on to reclaim the constituency with a landslide victory.

BCP spokesperson and Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse this week issued a statement confirming that BCP will not contest the upcoming Boswelatlou Ward bye-election in Lobatse. Keorapetse also emphasised that BCP will assist in the best way to make sure UDC retains the seat.

Keorapetse said the decision taken by party leadership is a culmination of both parties’ attempts to forge relations that will usher in an amicable working relationship between the BCP and the UDC. “We hope that this is a step in the right direction as both parties are currently working on a Memorandum of Understanding for the bye-elections across the country, a big step for envisaged opposition cooperation leading to 2019 general elections,” read the statement.

Keorapetse was part of the pro-UDC cooperation faction which won all the Central Committee seats in last month’s elective congress held in Kanye. His team comprised of among others Vice President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang and Secretary General Kentse Rammidi.

The Selibe Phikwe legislator said BCP believes it is BDP which should be a prime target and encouraged BCP members to have an obligation to do what they have to do to ensure that the opposition retain its seats.

The Boswelatlou Ward bye election will be the first to contest opposition parties undergo with a clear endorsement of each other since last year’s general elections. Despite the new development, opposition was able to win all the five bye-elections held so far even where they contested against each other. BCP has won two council seats, while UDC has been able to win two council seats as well as the recent Goodhope-Mabule parliamentary seat.

The cooperation of opposition parties will spell doom for the ruling party, which despite the status quo ante was not able to benefit from opposition vote splitting in the past general elections.   

UDC will be in pole position to reclaim the Boswelatlou Ward, not only because it won the Ward in last year’s general elections but because of the support that it will benefit from BCP.

UDC won the constituency with a slim margin of two votes through Kabelo Sebako who has since resigned. Sebako garnered 278 votes against Zubeida Raphael of BDP’s 276 votes while Shimane Thelo of BCP got 93 votes. A total of 652 people voted in the ward, and 5 of the casts were spoilt.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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