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BDP to present land reform bill in parliament


Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will in the upcoming meeting of parliament table a number of bills that are motivated by the party’s 2019 election manifesto, party Secretary General Mpho Balopi has said.

Since October elections the party has been subject of criticism from various quarters including political commentators that it has failed to walk its promise. Balopi has however told this publication this week that the party is initiating several reforms that speak to the party promises contained in the manifesto.

Key among its pledges was the land question, a topic which has been a subject of debate for years. BDP promised to address the land issue which has been a thorny issue for the indigenous people.  In 2016, Parliament was informed by then Minister of Lands and Housing (now Ministry Lands Management, Housing and Sanitation) Prince Maele that there are 1.062,158 applicants on the waiting list as maintained and published by various Land Boards and the Department of Lands.

Maele said the applicants on these waiting lists will continue to be vetted for eligibility for allocation, to ensure compliance with the Land Policy provision on equity in distribution of land.  The waiting list, predominately for residential land, mostly in urban and peripheral, date back to a period of more than 30 years.

“It has been a case for most of Batswana, and I am proud to say as a party we have decided that this meeting (July) of parliament we will also table land allocation bill to ease and reduce the list for benefit of our people,” Balopi said.

Presently, land policy and governance in Botswana are based on three types of land tenure systems: tribal land, which accounts for 71 percent of the total land area of Botswana; freehold, which comprises 3 percent; and state land, which accounts for 26 percent, BDP will in this meeting revise the land tenure laws.

Last week President Mokgweetsi Masisi launched the revised Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) guidelines as part of its commitment to citizen empowerment.
“We are bring these reforms as we have already done with CEDA because we want to improve the livelihoods of Batswana especially the youth and to ensure that the economy is sustainable.”

As part of its election pledges, Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration has published a bill that seek bar Members of Parliament and Councillors from floor crossing. The diminishing national educational results is another matter that the BDP says deserves concentration to overturn.

“Are we getting value out of investment we make,” Masisi asked rhetorically during the campaigns. Masisi promised that he will engage Ministry of Basic Education (MOBE) to do school mapping. “In our education we have not responded to the way we should have especially to junior school students, we have created prisons which are not good for human development, this is my professional view.”

He also revealed that plans are underway to resume double shift. “Concentration of kids for four hours is too much. We will engage MOBE to commit to double shifting.” “We will revise educational bills so that it will more aligned to the knowledge based economy,” Balopi added.

Balopi says as a party they will also suggest bills that will be able to sustain the nation on how to respond to the new/normal as a result of Covid-19. “More especially looking and employer/employee relation and occupational health and many more other bills and debates aimed at improving the livelihoods of Batswana,” he concluded.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

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.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

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.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

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.

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