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BCP won’t rush to UDC

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) following its successful congress held in Kanye over the President’s holidays, says it will need time to discuss the unity issue. The BCP members retained Dumelang Saleshando as president, unopposed and voted in Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang and his team to lead the party for the next five years.

The ascendance of Kentse Rammidi to the position of secretary general has rocked the boat for those opposed to working with the UDC. Rammidi is pro-opposition unity and wants the BCP to join the UDC. The main gripe of the disgruntled BCP members is the presence of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in the Umbrella stable.

Before the congress, the party was laden with the debate whether to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) or not to. There were two camps, those who were pro-unity and those who totally opposed the idea of joining the Umbrella. Explaining the resolution of the party on the subject, Dumelang Saleshando said his party has never been against opposition cooperation.

“We have a long standing resolution on the subject of opposition cooperation. There was a resolution even before the congress that after the 2014 general election, we should engage other opposition parties. Our party members had made it clear that we should go back and talk to other parties after the collapse of the first Umbrella talks,” he told WeekendPost.  

Saleshando said at the congress party members adopted his speech’s context on opposition talks, and the inference is that the party should engage other opposition parties as per the standing resolution. “But it must be noted that I would personally not want the talks to be conducted in the manner it was done before where there were deadlines and there was a lot of pressure,” he said.

The BCP President said his party must be given time to interrogate the subject of opposition cooperation internally before they rush into any decisions. He pointed out that the BCP respects its members hence they will always have the final say. He said this time around they will not just bring one model to the table so that the negotiation process is flexible. “We will bring about two or three proposals,” he said.

The BCP’s poor performance in the last elections was attributed, by some pundits, to its solitary approach to the elections. There was opinion that had they been part of the UDC, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) rule will have ended in 2014.

But Saleshando is still adamant that his party, which only managed three seats in Parliament, was a victim of propaganda, character assassination, and a mudslinging campaign. He says the BCP will proceed with contesting the Goodhope-Mabule constituency because there is currently no agreement on bye-elections with the UDC.

Should the BCP join the UDC, it is understood that there will be two posts of Vice President – which will be occupied by Saleshando and Ndaba Gaolathe, while Duma Boko shall retain that of President. However Saleshando told this publication that his party has not even arrived at a stage where it can discuss positions inside the UDC.

“We are yet to meet,” he said. The BCP which commands a strong following in the north is likely to be given most of the constituencies in that region, and a few in the south.

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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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