Former Ngwaketse West Member of Parliament, Mephato Reatile
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has successfully deployed its cadres across the country through the nomination of councillors’ dispensation. The Minister of Local Government and Rural development, Slumber Tsogwane increased the number of nominated councillors to 119 this term.
A number of ruling party members who lost in the just ended general elections and in the 2013 party primary elections have been given a new lease of life but with a strong mandate this time. It is understood that the deployed nominated councillors should work on ensuring that the party regains its presence in areas where it lost ground.
Indications are that some of the nominated councillors did not even apply to the District Commissioner’s office. They were handpicked and re-deployed countrywide.
This week Tsogwane presented amendments to Statutory Instruments provisions that will allow him to increase representation of nominated councillors. This move will see an increase in number of nominated councillors in Sowa Town Council, Ghanzi District Council, Francistown Town Council and Gaborone City Council.
Leader of the Opposition (LOO) Duma Boko scorned the system in his response to President Ian Khama’s State of the Nation Address saying once again the dispensation is used to award proven failures and rejects of the electoral process. “It (BDP) has used this dispensation to dilute and undermine the outcome of the recent elections,” he said, ‘I must record the indignant rage felt by us in the opposition and indeed the scornful resentment all reasonable citizens feel at this disgraceful conduct.”
This publication has it on good authority that the appointments are a pre-thought ‘political deployment’ that will help ensure that the ruling BDP increases its presence in certain constituencies to enhance its chances in the next general elections.
Mephato Reatile, Oliphant Mfa, Sylviah Muzila, Kagiso Ntime, Reaboka Mbulawa, Mpho Moruakgomo, Alec Seametso, Andy Boatile, Peter Ngoma and MacDonald Peloetletse appear to be some of the nominees in Tsogwane’s list.
Mephato Reatile recently lost Jwaneng-Mabutsane to Shawn Nthaile of Umbrella for Democratic (UDC) a constituency which BDP could win back in the next general elections.
Mfa, the former Assistant Minister of Local Government will be deployed to Sowa Township Council. Mfa lost his parliamentary seat in 2009, after losing the 2008 BDP primary elections for Nata-Gweta to Ryner Makosha. Mfa has made several efforts to make a comeback to the legislative house but on all occasion the efforts proved to be futile.
BDP also nominated the party Youth Wing chairman, Andy Boatile to serve in the Francistown City Council. Boatile has always during his leadership come in defence of BDP and President Khama. When former presidents Quiet Masire and Festus Mogae made remarks that did not sit well with the current BDP leadership, Boatile responded with strong words, warning that the two old statesmen have no business in discussing the leadership style of the BDP under Khama, pointing out that they should just stay home and enjoy ‘pension benefits.’ It is understood that Boatile is one of the youngsters who are being groomed to challenge for parliamentary seats in the next elections.
Former BNF Youth League President, Kagiso Ntime also got the nod. The controversial young politician joined BDP in 2012 and has proved to be a trusted figure within the BDP. With the opposition having done well in attracting young voters in the past elections, the likes of Ntime and Boatile are being given the opportunity to emerge as the next generation of young BDP leaders.
BDP has also given Sylviah Muzila a lifeline. Muzila was defeated by Wynter Mmolotsi of UDC in the past general elections. BDP Campaign Manager in past general elections has also been nominated. The notorious man has also previously served as a nominated councillor.
Reaboka Mbulawa who mounted one of the most expensive campaigns in the last general elections has also been nominated. Mbulawa contested and lost against Batawana royal, Kgosi Tawana Moremi II who was representing the UDC. Although BDP lost the constituency, they believe they still have the strength to retain it in the coming general elections. This is attested by the fact that, even though UDC won the constituency, the BDP won all council seats in the constituency except one.
MFA, REATILE HIT BACK AT CRITICS Asked to comment on the criticism that he is being rescued from near poverty after many years of failed comeback, former cabinet minister, Olifant Mfa hit back at his critics. He said people should know that he is a farmer of repute, “I sell just one of the cows to make a councillor’s monthly salary.
Mine is to serve the nation of Botswana. Those who are willing to appreciate reality will know that I am the founding councillor of Sowa Township and I am definitely going to make a positive input in the development agenda of that area,” he said. Mfa said he has accepted national service as directed by the party which he has served for many years. “I will continue to stand for elections as long as I am fit to render my services to Batswana and the BDP,” stressed the former Nata/Gweta MP.
Reports suggest that Mfa, who has Member of Parliament for 15 years did not apply to be nominated, but his loyalty to the party encouraged BDP leaders to deploy him to Sowa Township.
For his part, former Ngwaketse West Member of Parliament, Mephato Reatile indicated that opposition parties had also submitted their wish lists to be nominated, “I did not see or hear of a single name of BDP members in the opposition wish list, why should the BDP nominate them,” he asked. He said like any sane political party, the BDP has re-deployed its cadres for political purpose. “It is not about the money, we all the salaries at that level,” he pointed out.
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.