The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) continues to lose public support amidst allegations of corruption and poor governance and this is making its supporters sad – a draft report on human development by the University of Botswana and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed.
The Botswana national human development report, which is still under review suggests that the declining popularity of the BDP as proven by last year’s poll results shows that socio-economic concerns such as high unemployment especially among the youth, relatively high income inequality, inability to adequately diversify the economy from the diamond mining which is capital intensive are some of the factors that have possibly dented public confidence in the party that has enjoyed uninterrupted rule for the past forty-nine (49) years.
According to the experts, many people were possibly turned off by the corruption scandals that incriminated some senior government officials and institutions and hence the drop in the BDP Parliamentary seats in the last national polls.
“The country has a well functioning democracy that has been characterised by relatively free and fair elections that were held every five years. Even though each of the election was won by one party, BDP, these have been characterised as free and fair. The elections have however shown a declining popular vote for the ruling party, the worst being the most recent elections in 2014 where the ruling party won with a popular vote for the first time below fifty percent,” the report reads in part.
The BDP won 37 of the 57 constituencies during the 2014 general elections. The coalition opposition party, Umbrella for Democratic Change whose membership include Botswana National Front, Botswana Movement for Democracy and Botswana People’s Party, secured 17 seats while Botswana Congress Party gained 3.
The report further suggested that the BDP decline in popularity could have been most likely a response by voters to some of the governance issues such as alleged rising corruption among some of the public institutions. The report collaborates the recent research by the Afro Barometer which suggests that seventy-percent of the voting population belief that the President and his officials are corrupt.
The decline in popularity, according to the UB and UNDP researchers may also be a response to the dissatisfaction of workers to cost of living as salaries were kept unchanged for some time after the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The country witnessed a major public strike in April 2011, which culminated in the civil service unions publicly declaring their support for the united opposition to seek for alternative government to deal with the socio-economic situation which they characterised as highly unsatisfactory,” the report further pointed out.
However they admitted that Botswana is a longest liberal democracy in Africa with good governance record market based economy with relatively strong checks and balances, notably for ensuring public accountability and rules for both public spending and general economic management.
However they noted that while the country has had “a very strong governance system it has continued to experience weak implementation and monitoring and evaluation.”
The experts therefore called on the government to utilise resources in a smarter way rather than seemingly throwing money to problems with little success in terms of sustainable development.
The launch of the report is expected following the final review of the draft which is to be carried out at the end of this Month, in Gaborone by the UN country team, development partners, government officials, researchers, academics and the media.
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.