It has been barely a year since the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) gave birth to the Botswana Patriotic Party (BPF) after a massive fallout between the current President Mokgweetsi Masisi and former President Ian Khama.
Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama has warmed up to the idea of smoking a peace pipe with his successor, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, and he is prepared to return to his former political home.Â Khama and Masisi fell out following the latterâ€™s ascendency to the presidency. The fall out is attributed to the idea that Masisi breached some of the agreements that the two men had prior to Khama leaving office.
Before Khamaâ€™s departure as President, it was believed that he had chosen someone whom he will control post Presidency.Â However, the moment Khama left the office, Masisi emerged from the woods, proving to be his own man. However, this publication has gathered that Khama is ready to retrace his steps after he failed to dislodge Masisi from the top seat in the 2019 general elections, but Masisi is not yet ready to accept his former boss.
When Khama left BDP last year, he caused a trail of destruction, with BDP losing the majority of seats in the Central District for the first time since independence, including the three Serowe constituencies. It is reported that Khama was hurt by Masisiâ€™s action hence he wanted him removed from the presidency. The former President went on to form a political party and a political alliance with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
With elections gone, and Masisi still in power, Khama is attempting to put their differences aside. Some senior BDP members (names withheld) allegedly tried to soften Masisi by persuading him to accept Khama back but he declined and dismissed them outright. â€œI donâ€™t think the President [Masisi] is ready to deal with such an issue at this point in time. He infuriates at the mention of Khamaâ€™s name, they are many issues surrounding their fallout and it will take time to put their differences aside,â€ revealed a source.
Furthermore, sources have revealed that the reason why Khamaâ€™s big comeback might be weighing heavily on the President is because he is not sure on whether or not he can be trusted again. â€œWho knows what the motive behind this possible comeback might be? After a series of battles that unfolded last year prior to elections, the idea itself sends mixed signals.â€
However, it is reported that some members within the BDP have advised Khama to go public about his quest to make peace between him and his predecessor. Khama has been accused of working with the current Secretary General of the BDP, Mpho Balopi in an initiative to help him in his pursuit for the Chairmanship of the party.
It is alleged that factions are already looming in the BDP, some vouching for Khamaâ€™s big comeback. Moreover, Balopi is reported to be working with former President Ian Khama, which does not sit well with President Masisi.Reports from sources say that Balopi justifies his working relationship by saying that he and Khama have known each other from time immemorial and he is what he is because of Khama.
Balopi first became the party SG at the time when Khama was leading the party. As it is, Balopi is the third most senior member of the party, coming after Masisi and Tsogwane. While Khama could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print, few weeks ago he confirmed that there are talks on going involving party elders about the possibility of him re-uniting with his former party.
Khamaâ€™s comment came in the wake of a BDP statement by Masisi affirming that Khama was not a member of the ruling party. Masisiâ€™s statement was, according to sources, triggered by the developments in the party when some claimed that Khama had not formal resigned from the party, therefore entitled to return at any time he wishes.
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.