Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) youth wing leader, Lesang Magang has warned some party activist about the dangers of discouraging party members from sharing their opinion, indicating that it will be detrimental to the party going forward.
Magang’s concern follows an opinion he shared on social media about the need to review the party primary elections system known as Bulela Ditswe which was introduced in 2003.
In 2015, following a record 108 complainants registered in the 2013 general elections and subsequent party dismal performance in the 2014 general election, the party initiated a Commission of Inquiry on the process.
The Commission, headed by party veteran and former cabinet minister, Peter Siele, found out that indeed the system was prone to abuse and that the party should introduce more measures to ensure the credibility of the process.
Although there were suggestions that the system could be scrapped out, the party decided to stick with the system albeit with improvements and good monitoring systems. The system also faced criticism ahead of last general elections.
While Magang admits that he received feedback from those who share his concerns, he was not impressed by those who questioned his decision to discuss such matter on a “wrong platform”.
“Over the past few years there has been a mischievous, relentless and constructive attack on robust engagement in the party. This was allowed to happen because the past leadership thrived in the atmosphere of no debate but viral adulation,” said an irate former BDP youth leader.
“In the process a small class of self-appointed ‘Social Media Police’ emerged. They caution and direct people on what they say is right to be posted and what is not. Some have the audacity to threaten Cadres to take down posts. These are not my words, they are the cries of colleagues who have shared their stories with me.”
Magang, who served in the party Central Committee during the presidency of Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae indicated that the new culture that discourages debate is a cancer that will eventually destroy the party.
“My observation in the past couple of years is that it has resulted in most of the best brains in the party literally halting all open engagement about the BDP. It is especially detrimental to the party because now when the party or government is openly attacked and disparaged not many bother to speak out even if they individually know the facts to clear the issue,” said Magang.
Magang, who is an aspirant for the Secretary General position at the next congress, warned that the current state of affairs will continue if there is a select small group of people dumbing down the discourse from within democrats.
“If we are not comfortable to debate our own issues, then we will not educate each other. We will not be able to learn the party’s principles, values and ethos from the activist veterans amongst us,” he said.
“This is not healthy for all the new recruits we are receiving now and again. Ba tlaa ithuta Domokoraga mo go mang haele gore ga go buisanwe…ga go gakollanwe…?”
Magang, said the BDP is lucky to have Mokgweetsi Masisi as it leader because he thrives in open debate.
“Unlike our previous leader he leads from the front and takes part in all major debates in Parliament no matter how seemingly contentious the issue may be. He is open to be questioned by the media more regularly than anyone who has come before him,” Magang stated.
“To me this is inspiration to the entire party to understand that times have now changed. We are now the party of engagement, of debate and of differing perspectives. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts.”
Magang reminisced about the BDP of yesteryears in which the party ensured that it was seized with burning issues during National Councils and National Congress.
“Bring back the BDP of late night National Councils. The BDP of three days two night National Congresses where differences in policy and direction were not only expected they were celebrated.
“The times when Gaborone Region would bring the hot topic resolutions. Kweneng Region would come with their perspective and Francistown Region will be grabbing the roving mic because they had an alternate view. Party ele monate batho ba bua mahatlha a bone,” said Magang.
“Back then there were no Secret WhatsApp Groups and screen munches out of context by people who never comment. Ne re buela mo pontsheng.”
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.