Fankie Motsaathebe, Eric Molale are the early favourites for vacant seat
In the normal course of politics, a public official usually takes time before dropping the resignation bombshell, but for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Goodhope -Mabule, James Mathokgwane, the decision was quick.
On Wednesday morning James Mathokgwane handed his resignation letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly. He had not done the routine of consulting with his voters to inform them of his intention; evidently he had no time for consultation.
The former Member of Parliament made it clear that the decision and the reasons behind it were personal. His leader, Duma Boko also reiterated the same stance at a press conference on Thursday to say Mathokgwane’s decision must be respected and the reasons for the resignation remain personal.
His handlers allude to the fact that it was not an automatic or reflex reaction; an immediate reaction made without examining causes or facts. “This is no typical knee-jerk reactions, as some people want to suggest, Comrade James put this matter to thought,” said a BNF member who preferred anonymity.
While they point out that Mathokgwane is a very loyal BNF member, they are concerned that his sudden withdrawal from politics could have been propelled by other reasons other than financial ones; nonetheless they still respect his decision.
WeekendPost has gathered that Mathokgwane was interviewed by the Selibe Phikwe Regional Development Agency (SPEDU) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mokubung Mokubung on Tuesday at Masa Centre in Gaborone for the position of Director of Regional Operations based in Selibe Phikwe.
The following morning, Mathokgwane was informed that he has passed his interview and his offer was ready for his signature. Indications are that Mothokgwane was told that he could not counter sign the offer whilst still holding the political office of Member of Parliament.
The Goodhope-Mabule MP did not hesitate; he immediately penned a resignation letter and handed it to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Gladys Kokorwe and came back to counter sign the offer. Mathokgwane was not head-hunted; he took the initiative of responding to a job advertisement that was published in the local newspapers. The job pays three times more than what Mathokgwane was earning as a Member of Parliament.
It will also demand that he relocates from the Borolong area to Selibe Phikwe where SPEDU is based. SPEDU is now under the ambit of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which is headed by Minister Vincent Seretse. Mothokgwane was a civil servant before UDC formation attracted him back to active politics. All the while he has been known to be a proponent of politics of the left from his days at the University of Botswana.
BDP may push for early primary elections
Meanwhile the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) may push for its primaries to be held before the end of June to ensure that it has ample time to prepare for the parliamentary bye-election. Activists in the constituency want to convince the leadership to deal with issues of the primary elections before the party’s elective congress pencilled for July in Mmadinare.
“We want to regain this constituency; the party will do us a huge favour if everything linked to primary elections is done before the congress. This is a big constituency which has about 20 villages, a new candidate will need time to make himself or herself known to the voters,” said a BDP member in Goodhope.
WeekendPost has gathered that there are already about seven party members who have expressed interest in contesting the primary elections. However the big names that jump up the proposals include that of Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale and former BDP Youth Wing chairman, Fankie Motsaathebe, who is currently the regional secretary. Early information indicates that former Member of Parliament for the area, Kitso Mokaila will not contest. But things may change depending on the interests of his handlers.
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.