Former Cabinet minister Tebelelo Seretse have confirmed that she may do the unthinkable and challenge Mokgweetsi Masisi for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidency in 2018.
Seretse’s supporters are pushing her to go against party tradition and contest for the top post of the ruling BDP in the special party congress leading to 2019 elections, WeekendPost can reveal.
This publication is in possession of an audio clip of a closed late night Saturday meeting, at Mmadinare, following the announcement of the Central Committee election results which saw Tebelelo suffer a mortifying 219 to 582 loss to Vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Another contender in the race, Moemedi Dijeng came third with 69 votes; Ramadeluka Seretse managed only 57 votes while Biggie Butale came last with an appalling 23 votes.
Indications are that Tebelelo’s campaign team for the just ended congress unanimously supported the proposal that she contests the presidency in the coming congress (special). The special congress will follow the national congress which is scheduled for 2017 and will elect again, the new Central Committee, excluding the president.
In the audio clip, ululations are heard, followed by chants of “a e jeke Domkrag” when party veteran Daniel Kwelagobe announced that: “Tebelelo Seretse will be contesting for the presidency at the 2018 party special congress.”
President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama is expected to step down (in 2018) after 10 years (2 terms) as espoused by the constitution of the Republic.
The outspoken Seretse told this publication in a brief interview on Thursday that: “why not I will stand for the party presidency when they (followers) ask me to.”
Dijeng, Ramadeluka may support the group Dijeng, who was also in attendance at the meeting, offered his allegiance to the group while efforts were at an advanced stage to lure Ramadeluka to the same camp. Ramadeluka previously refused to join the camp but it is believed his options are now limited to join forces after he came distant forth on the race.
Although it will be a historic move and, against party custom for the party presidency to be contested or challenged, article 29 of the BDP constitution provides for the party presidential election albeit automatic succession. Article 29.1 states that, “when the party is in power, the president of the party shall be elected by a secret ballot at the national congress of the party…”
In addition, article 29.2 posits that, “each region may nominate and submit one name of an aspiring candidate in good standing from any region to the Central Committee not less than 24 hours before the commencement of the national congress.”
“Any other member in good standing of the party may submit their name as an aspiring candidate for the post of president of the party to the Secretary General of the party, not less than 24 hours before commencement of the applicable national congress upon being sponsored, in writing, by not less than fifty delegates to the national congress,” highlights article 29.3 which Tebelelo’s group may be relying upon as per the party constitution.
Kwelagobe to lead and mobilise the fresh campaign. According to the clandestine meeting, if push comes to shove, Kwelagobe would lead the campaign alone. This, according to the recording would be to protect other members, if they get threatened. Kwelagobe highlighted that he would take the campaign to newspapers and radio, emphasizing however that he would not insult anybody. “I will just express my feelings. I will work for the party like I have been doing. This party is ours, it’s not for ‘someone’, we must therefore defend and protect the integrity of this party as it so deserves,” the BDP strongman declared.
The BDP former MP castigated those from their rival campaign especially in the Masisi camp which was said to have splashed money in Mmadinare, spending on booze and accommodation (tents) given to delegates. “So this is to encourage and recognise you, who stood for elections, those who voted without fear, although some were lured, as we know, with blankets and others but that we are used to and it doesn’t matter,” he highlighted.
The group further pledged it would lead the party in wards where it is invited, settling disputes even when not sanctioned by the party top brass. “Like Tebelelo said, we are there for you. If anyone has a problem at their ward and if anyone wants me to address a workshop or seminar at your ward I will do that. No one will stop me, or some of us, from doing that,” the BDP veteran declared in the underground gathering.
It was also no secret that Kwelagobe supported his prodigal son Botsalo Ntuane against Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri in the race for the position of Secretary General for the party. Ntuane amassed a landslide victory of 724 votes to 180 of the latter while another rival Olebeng Ngwakwena failed to canvass enough support for a nomination. Already observers say Kwelagobe is likely to influence and dominate Ntuane’s position at the team.
Secretary General is the third powerful position in the party after the President and Chairman.
Kwelagobe will serve as an additional member in the Central Committee, along with Nonofo Molefi, Botlogile Tshireletso, Unity Dow and Fidelis Molao.
In addition, President Ian Khama has appointed his brother Tshekedi Khama, Thato Kwerepe, Dimpho Moncho, Mmapula Phuduhudu and Mpho Balopi as ordinary members in the BDP central committee. Group supports Fankie Motsaathebe for Goodhope/Mabule bye election.
The closed meeting also chastised Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration and Specially elected MP Eric Molale who has submitted his name, along with Fankie Motsaathebe and other three, for consideration of BDP primaries for the area that are slated for July 18. Other hopefuls include Phillip Sebakile, Kopo Mononi and Richard Mogatle.
Kwelagobe stated blatantly offered his support to Motsaathebe, “even as we go to Goodhope/Mabule constituency in Borolong I will go there but only if Fankie Motsaathebe is standing.” “As for the others I hear will stand, those were just handed Member of Parliament seat and given a ministerial position and are now saying they will leave those benefits to stand, no, those I will not support, go tell them,” the ad-hoc leader of the new group lamented.
“I won’t go there because they are toying with our minds. There are a lot of us democrats, even in Goodhope/Mabule (Borolong), there are is pull of Madomkrag who can stand for the party there. If someone is given a responsibility he should focus on it and leave others to take care of other responsibilities,” Kwelagobe, who lost in the 2014 General Elections to Dr. Tlamelo Mmatli of the Umbrella for Democratic Change albeit with a slim margin pointed out.
The BDP old-timer further added that, “we are told that he is contesting because he will be made Vice president. It is the only way he will contest because you need to have a constituency to be Vice president. If not why is he standing? Like I have been saying it’s your friends go tell them what I said here,” he declared.
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.