For Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top echelons, not all that glitters is gold. Reports coming from both Tsholetsa and Parliament depicts discontentment from some Members of Parliament and the Presidency concerning Vice President Slumber Tsogwane’s failure to stamp authority, WeekendPost is reliably informed.
Meanwhile President Masisi has also takes interest on how the Vice President conducts his business. President Masisi wants more from the man he appointed and endorsed as VP and party Chairman, ahead of other aspirants in Samson Guma and Tshekedi Khama in 2018. When he was elevated to these positions, Tsogwane was hailed as a man who knows his ceiling and he will not develop ‘ideas’ of grabbing more power as party Chairman.
His ‘intelligence, humility and hard work’ were also added as the reasons why President chose him. Masisi has previously indicated that he opted for Tsogwane as Vice President because he believed the Boteti West Member of Parliament—who is also the longest serving in Parliament— will bring stability to the party. The BDP leader further said, Tsogwane did not ask for the Vice Presidency, and that he is the one who enticed him, and subsequently he agreed.
However discontentment emerged last year prior to elections when Masisi realised that Tsogwane was not measuring up to the task. “Elections are hectic and Masisi expected Tsogwane to actively campaign and recruit opposition members into the BDP fold. That was not the case, and the President started to have other thoughts about his VP as he had to work hard in the campaigns and be a poster boy too,” said a source.
However, after the election, Masisi decided to throw his weight behind Tsogwane. Tsogwane was endorsed by 42 Members of Parliament, earning extra endorsement votes from opposition MPs. “Another concern is the parliamentary business. The President believes VP who has over 20 years in the house should stamp his authority and depict institutional memory in a number of matters rather than being over powered by newcomers including those from his own party. In short he should be able to defend his party initiatives and government decision with ease,” explains a source this week.
Tsogwane’s failure to reprimand BDP legislators he deemed ‘anti’ BDP and later reported them to Masisi is another indication of an accident waiting to happen, it has been said. Tsogwane has never enjoyed goodwill within the party, and it has been Masisi who has been doing the bidding for him. “Look at what he does every time he has to defend the party on the Parliament floor. He turns into mockery because of failure to apply himself and this taints the party and his office,” said one MP.
BDP members are also lamenting that as VP, Tsogwane should be pushing for implementation of a number of government initiatives that are stalled, “but he is folding his arms.” “But now since there are no more actions that require VP to defend government or the party, he was expected to be flying high showing off his government dexterity in Parliament but he is not,” adds a source. Masisi’s loss of confidence in his assistant is reported to have impacted negatively in the developmental agenda of the country as he is limited strategically.
“This has decreased his thinking nucleus as most of his advisors are not politicians. In reality, VP was supposed to be leading the clique of advisors, coming up with ideas on government matters as well as at party level.” Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay has however defended Tsogwane, arguing that he is a man who loves and always defends the BDP. “That is why opposition MPs like to grill him. They are doing so because they notice how much he protects the party,” Kablay contends.
“He is a man who also likes discipline. That is why at times he has to call some of our members to order, if he feels they are attacking their own party.” In relation to Masisi, the Chief Whip is of the view that Tsogwane highly respects him. “On many occasions when the MPs want something he will rather wait for his senior so that they can take decision collectively,” he said. “It is a sign of good working relation between the two. Of course here and there some will raise concerns over him but it has not been officially discussed in party platforms, it is more like corridor talks. So, to me he is very committed to both the party and the President.”
Going into the party’s elective congress later this year, Masisi is reportedly a worried man as he will have to double his effort if he wants his preferred candidates to make core of the party Central Committee. It is moments like those that the VP will come in handy but Tsogwane has proven not to be a political pugilist. Once regarded as a strategist by Masisi, the BDP Chairman has always avoided being entangled in factional wars throughout his tenure as MP. Tsogwane only developed interest in the run up to 2017 congress, after being coaxed by Masisi, who was then running as party chairman.
Running on Masisi’s invincible slate, Tsogwane was voted as one of the five additional members. A political scientist, Dr Mpaphi Teedzani is of the view that Masisi opted for Tsogwane because he knew they can work together better. “Remember when he chose him he wanted someone who wouldn’t go overboard and be selfish and he credited him (VP) for his humility, this is what he wanted. He (Masisi) has experience of being a VP, he could have just wanted someone who is brave enough and who could take bullets for him not the current one.” Teedzani says, it is difficult for Masisi to demote Tsogwane as it has never happened before.
“That one is impossible,” he continued. “He would do well as a Minister than VP, and I believe there are some within the party that could fare better in that position because people have shown their prowess when given a chance.” Tsogwane has been a Boteti West MP since 1999. Before last year’s elections Tsogwane was to throw in the towel when it came to the political game, but he was persuaded by some BDP activists including Guma to contest.
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.