Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, who is also the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman, has reported at least five of his party members to President Mokgweetsi Masisi for venting out ‘anti-BDP’ sentiments when responding to the Budget Speech.
As scores of legislators have been responding to Finance Minister, Dr Thapelo Matsheka’s speech, Tsogwane has been observing how his colleagues were rampantly attacking their own government. The contribution by some BDP legislators has left Tsogwane irritated. The Boteti West legislator, who is also the Leader of the House, believes the members should be the front liners in defending their party. The disappointed Tsogwane now wants Masisi’s intervention, fearing that the attitude will swell if unattended.
WeekendPost has established that five MPs are expected to be hauled before the hot coals, facing President Masisi to explain why they responded in the manner deemed ‘anti’ BDP. Kanye North’s Thapelo Letsholo leads the line followed by Ghanzi North MP John Thiite and party’s Chief Whip Liakat Kablay, in a meeting set for next week. Others that will face the music include Jwaneng-Mabutsane representative Mephato Reatile and Nata-Gweta legislator Polson Majaga, informants confidently say.
Letsholo punched holes in the budget speech and even warned his party that it would have not won elections had it not been its election pledges. “In our election manifesto, we pledged to “Create jobs in the entire value chains of the digital innovation, agriculture, mining, tourism, education, auto-motives, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, solar and manufacturing industries,” he said. “I can bet on my last Thebe that if we had pledged to buy more air assets for the military, we would not be the governing party today,” he responded in Parliament. Tsogwane was not impressed by this statement, hence he wants Masisi to have a word with the maverick legislator.”
On Thursday this week, Letsholo told this publication that his response was based on his responsibility as a democratically elected MP. “As a BDP MP, my response was aligned to the BDP manifesto in terms of priorities on creating employment for the youth, improving the quality of education and the welfare of the teachers, improving the quality of health care in Botswana and infrastructure development good enough to attract investors amongst others,” he contended.
He added, “I am not aware of any concerns by the BDP leadership over my response. I have attended all the party meetings that I should and never heard of such.” Another member who critiqued the speech and even posed questions in Parliament that the party leadership opined put the party in negative light is, Thiite.
“As the BDP, we are just returning from a campaign that led to the last elections, where we promised Batswana jobs, and economic activities across the country, in our election manifesto and electoral promises, my concern is we have promised electorates to vote for us with the intention to create jobs for them but this has not been brought to life,” he told Parliament. The BDP MP continued: “we promised to utilise our natural resources. In tourism, we specifically promised Batswana to create jobs in the industry.”
A case in point, he added, is the employment creation in the CKGR which has a very huge opportunity in terms of economic activities but out of reach for the citizens to utilize as compared to foreign nationals. This has also rubbed the party leadership the wrong way and he will be cautioned, sources tell WeekendPost.Kablay, who was rampant in his response has also attracted the wrath of the party politburo. The Letlhakeng-Lephepe legislator lamented about lack of water for his constituents and dilapidated infrastructure as his concerns.
Already reports say, this week Tsogwane summoned him for a meeting to ask him about his ‘anger’ of late. A more formal meeting is expected next week in the presence of Masisi. “I was speaking for the constituents because there is pressure after elections. But I am clueless about leaders not being happy,” Kablay told this publication. Reatile, has also responded ferociously to the speech lamenting that the BDP government should stick to its electoral promises.
“Remember we promised electorates that when we assume power we will ensure that students- teacher ratio will be 1:30 but even up to now, in my constituency for instance, I still have classes accommodating 59 students. I was speaking for the BDP manifesto and there is no how I could seem to be attacking it,” he told this publication. Majaga, apart from his brutal Budget Speech response, in which he was involved in a verbal war with Tsogwane, also wants the government to ensure that they have vehicles to use at their respective constituencies. Majaga is also expected to be reprimanded next week. He is said to be leading and mobilising others to push for a car-scheme.
The proposal is in such a way that the government pays 50 percent and the remaining 50 percent is settled by the MP. The lawmakers say, this is practiced in many countries including Zambia and Kenya. Last week the BDP backbenchers gathered again to fine-tune the proposal before handing it to Tsogwane and Masisi next week. This has also not sat went well with Tsogwane and wants his boss, Masisi, to address it with the implicated actor.
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.