Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Councillor for Boswelatlou ward in Lobatse constituency Kabelo Sebako this week called it quits at the Lobatse Town Council (LTC) chambers, albeit over enigmatic circumstances.
WeekendPost has established that the Councillor has for almost 8 months held two posts simultaneously, including that of Councillor for the LTC. Other than that, Sebako also worked as an accountant in the management of Blue Crystal sugar company, also known as TongaatHullet. Sebako abandoned his councillor post to focus on his job at the sugar packaging company.
The UDC Councillor confirmed to WeekendPost in an interview that: “It is true that I have resigned my position as a Councillor, and it is purely for personal reasons.” He said he chose his job as Accounts Assistant over the Council position because he did not want to make the Council suffer due to his dual responsibilities.
Sebako won the Boswelatlou ward for the UDC – and entire opposition – for first time since the first democratic election 1969. It has been a safe guarded stronghold of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who lost it with a slim margin in the last election. The UDC Councillor had garnered 278 votes to 276 of Zubeida Raphael of BDP while Botswana Congress Party (BCP) represented by Shimane Thelo came last with 93 votes only.
UDC Spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa told this publication that he was aware of the developments pertaining to Sebako’s resignation. He however downplayed it to say it depended on how one viewed it. “You see I believe it was a good decision because it compromised him to diligently deliver on his Council responsibilities,” he said.
According to Mohwasa, some people enjoy clinging to their political positions even when they are challenged and hailed Sebako as a responsible political leader who, due to other pressures of life and commitments, moved to relinquish his position when he felt he could serve the people in accordance with his will.
“He had two jobs and so he felt continuing with both of them will affect his Council duties and his ability to serve his electorates at his ward,” he pointed out.
When this reporter asked if this development won’t tarnish the image of the party further, Mohwasa stated that although some would say that, he however does not buy into that school of thought, “I don’t think so,” he stressed out.
It is not the first time a UDC Councilor resigned from a Council seat after the 2014 General Elections; recently Bokone North Councillor Titus Kebuileng left the Council for another work commitment believed to be at the University of Botswana. Botswana Congress Party’s Molefhe Mosothwane then went on later to win the bye election.
In addition, not long ago, the main opposition party received a shocker when Member of Parliament for Goodhope/Mabule James Mathokgwane also dumped parliament for a lucrative job at Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU). The bye election for the constituency will take place on 15 August.
There has been strong speculations doing the rounds that link opposition party members and activists en-mass resignations to strategical prudence by the ruling party fat cats to lure unsuspecting opposition members into their fold. The party has however continued to refute such insinuations as baseless and unfounded.
The suggestions were also entertained by Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) which is a member of UDC, Lobatse branch Chairman Temba Stimela. According to Stimela, Sebako had pressure from BDP leadership in Lobatse especially by Town Mayor Malebogo Kruger. However efforts to reach Kruger on the matter proved futile at the time of going to print.
It is understood that Kruger has been frequently visiting Sebako’s employers on suspicious mandate to recruit him. Sebako, who was only a member of the Finance Committee at the Council was said to be not performing satisfactorily by the Council management.
There were also assumptions that Sebako had been invited to the State house, assertions he laughed off and brushed aside, labelling them as untrue and unfortunate. According to him, he remains a loyal of the UDC, he rubbished the claims that he may have been bought by the BDP top politburo.
Meanwhile, it has also become apparent that when the incumbent Councillors and MP’s resign from Council chambers or National Assembly, or more still from their current parties to others, rarely bid constituents and electorates farewell. The constituents often complain of such developments.Sebako indicated in the interview that he has “not consulted the constituents to the optimum level.”
In the meantime, President Ian Khama is expected to issue a writ of elections to announce the date of the bye election.
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.