Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) 15 legislators have requested the National Executive Committee (NEC) and constituent parties to deliver the 2019 election report as a matter of urgency, WeekendPost has established.
The party leadership met with the MPs last weekend at Ave Maria Pastoral Centre for a consultative meeting. The gathering’s main agenda according to the UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa, was to discuss a number of issues, including the recently proposed Floor Crossing Bill. He however admits that other matters were raised from the meeting which he says should remain internal.
This publication is reliably informed that the party leadership also took the time to gauge the legislators’ performance in parliament. The UDC politburo is reportedly satisfied with how the MPs have fared so far in terms of motions and bills.
Among the bills UDC will table in this winter meeting is requesting parliament to set-up a commission in three months to review the constitution. UDC has also tabled, albeit unsuccessfully, the Media Practitioners Act Repeal Bill.
“We cannot really blow our own trumpet but it seems the leadership is so far happy with our submission in parliament, but it has been underscored that most of us are new in the house and with time we will mature,” said Selibe Phikwe East MP, Kgoberego Nkawana. Not only that, the other issue which was discussed was last October’s election report.
According to Mohwasa, the party has agreed that “each constituent party will do its report and submit to UDC NEC for consolidation”. He however concedes that, “some structures are still lagging behind while others have completed theirs.” From the weekend meeting the MPs are reported to have pleaded with their superiors to press individual parties to ensure that they finish their reports to allow UDC NEC to compile a consolidated report.
“It will help us as a party to see how and where we went wrong in 2019 and that can also assist us to plot accordingly for the next elections in 2024,” one MP told this publication on condition of anonymity. The reasons for the delay as Mohwasa said is laxity from the parties. Again, another factor highlighted was Covid-19 and the imposition lockdowns which put plans and activities on hold.
“Failure to have deadlines on this could have also had a hand in the delay,” added the anonymous legislator. Currently, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is said to be the only party that has engaged all the structures and ready to submit its report. On the other hand Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP) are said to be still consulting and yet to finalize their reports for consolidation.
“We are busy with the report, it is not final. For now I am not sure when it will be ready because we are not allowed to gather but we are working on it,” BPP leader Motlatsi Molapisi told this publication in a brief interview. BCP President Dumelang Saleshando, who apart from being UDC VP is also a Maun West MP, said he was not in a position to comment on the matter as he is ‘conflicted’ by being in UDC NEC and being an MP.
All the political parties that participated in last year’s election should have already drafted and compiled their reports. However, MPs admit that reasons to delays are understandable. Meanwhile, the MPs also requested the party leadership to work closely to create the necessary cohesion and avoid having parallel axis.
The argument is, if the two take long to meet, it might create an impression that parliament is an independent structure from UDC which is not true. The last time the MPs met with UDC NEC was last year but the two structures should meet regularly. The MPs say they want to frequently meet with UDC President Duma 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.
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.