The Law Society of Botswana has advised Government of Botswana to reconsider its decision to engage a “racist and white supremacist” AfriForum to assist in processing mutual legal assistance request made to the South African government.
“Apartheid received universal condemnation as a crime against humanity. It represented the ultimate expression of racial inequality; oppression of the black majority by a white minority; and symbolized contempt and disrespect of black people.
The legacy of apartheid lives on despite the liberation of South Africa and the numerous interventions taken to redress the inequalities of the past. At a time when there is a global wave to uproot racial inequality the world over, sparked by the recent killing of George Floyd, the Law Society of Botswana is alarmed that the Government of Botswana has elected to engage the services of Afriforum, an organization in South Africa whose principal preoccupation is to fight for the preservation of the legacy of apartheid and set itself up as opposing force to reforms that seek to redress racial inequalities of the past.
The purpose of the engagement, as we understand it, is to assist in processing mutual legal assistance requests made to the South African Government.
The Government’s decision is incomprehensible and perplexing given that there is extensive choice of legal representation in South Africa, in view of its much larger population and more developed legal services industry.
The Government of Botswana has in fact in the past engaged some of the most revered legal practitioners in South Africa, and whose values and commitment to transformation and redressing racial inequalities of the past are well documented, such as Wim Trengrove SC; Anton Myburgh SC; Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, just to name a few.
The Government’s choice of representation is inconsistent with the recent display of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement shown by cabinet when it observed a moment of silence for George Floyd. The Law Society of Botswana affirms its support for racial equality everywhere in the world. Black lives matter not just in the United States of America, but everywhere around the world including South Africa.
If we recognise that black lives truly matter, we cannot as a country fund organisations that unapologetically and unflinchingly oppose the upliftment of black people previously disadvantaged by apartheid.
In electing to make use of the services of an organization that is opposed to racial equality and advocates for the perpetuation of the legacy of apartheid, the Government of Botswana has validated the stereotypes of rightwing organisations like Afriforum that enlightened Africans readily accept their inferiority and yearn for a return to oppressive white minority rule.
In choosing Afriforum, ahead of many other Afrikaner legal practitioners, whose commitment to the values of racial equality are indisputable, the Government is conveying to its citizens that it is ready to harbour and provide a paradise for racists and supremacists.
The Government’s ill-advised choice validates the small pockets of racists that we have in our country, particularly within the tourism sector, who have little regard for black people.
Whilst we concede that Government does not break any laws in engaging white supremacist organisations, we expect Government to be exemplary and promote basic moral standards by refraining from funding organisations that advocate for racial inequality, segregation and continuity oppression of black people.
Government’s decisions should at all times reflect good morality, integrity and judgment. Legality cannot be the only measure of whether Government decisions are sound.
We therefore call upon Government to urgently reconsider its engagement of Afriforum and reaffirm its commitment to ensuring racial equality and harmony in Botswana.”
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.