Wednesday, 13 September 2017 18:43

BDP serves Nkgakile double trouble

It never rains but pours for Treasurer of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC), Bruce Nkgakile.

While still reeling in shock this week after he was vetted out of participating in BDP primary elections, he suffered another heavy blow when BDP National Youth Executive Committee slapped him with a letter relinquishing him of his position as Treasurer.

At the beginning of this week Mogoditshane BDP Branch Chairman Kingston Mmolawa announced names of people minus Nkgakile who will be participating in the primary elections next month to challenge the incumbent, Sedirwa Kgoroba for 2019 general elections. 

This was followed with another letter that indicated that NYEC meeting has resolved that Nkgakile should be removed from office and subsequent to that a new Treasurer be appointed. His removal from office is allegedly linked to the disappearance of P27 000.00 donation made towards the Youth Wing. 

Nkgakile has revealed that the funds were used to purchase office furniture for NYEC. Nkgakile has argued that all these events are a witch-hunt by his detractors. He said that NYEC is not empowered to fire him from his post. “As things stand I am the Treasurer of NYEC. What was done is against the BDP NYEC Rules. Rule 7 (6) clearly states that NYEC can replace an ineffective officer. 

“So their argument is not ineffectiveness but they are saying misconduct. But still Rule 7 (7) stipulates that if it’s misconduct then NYEC can report me to the Disciplinary Committee”, he explained.

He has maintained that there are some members of NYEC who would want him out. In fact according to a letter addressed to party Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, last month Nkgakile accuses NYEC Chairman Simon Moabi of frustrating him and making it difficult for him to execute his duties. He stated that Moabi has halted the delivering of the furniture bought for NYEC office.

Nkgakile has pleaded with the secretary general for intervention to resolve the standoff between him and NYEC chairman. He claims in the letter that ever since he assumed office from the Tsabong Youth Congress early this year NYEC has always been divided. Moabi could not be reached for comment.

Published in News
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 15:16

Ombudsman slams Btv’s biased news coverage

• BDP enjoys 82% coverage 

• Combined Opposition parties share 18% 

• Broadcaster unduly favours BDP at the expense of other political parties - report

Office of the Ombudsman has found Botswana Television at fault for not affording opposition parties the same news coverage as the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.

This follows a report filed with the Ombudsman by Botswana National Front (BNF) Vice President Dr Prince Dibeela through a letter dated February 15th 2016. According to Ombudsman Augustine Makgonatsotlhe’s report, Dr Dibeela alleged that although it is a public broadcaster and is sustained through the taxes paid by all citizens, whose interest it is supposed to serve, BTV is instead used to serve the interests of the BDP. 

Dr Dibeela argued that BTV rarely airs programmes of opposition parties and regularly bombards the public with BDP propaganda. Makgonatsotlhe stated in the report dated August 28th 2017 that Dr Dibeela was duly qualified, as a member of the public, to lodge a complaint as also his claim that his political party is likely to suffer injustice in consequence of the actions or inactions of the respondent (BTV) is justified and meritorious in accordance with Section 3 (1) of the Ombudsman Act. 

The report shows that BDP enjoys 82 percent of coverage as compared to 18 percent shared by the rest of the opposition parties. According to the report, out of the 89 activities, only 16 from opposition were found to be newsworthy by BTV compared to 73 from the BDP. In his findings, Makgonatsotlhe stated that information gathered demonstrates that, despite the existence of good policy statements and guidelines, BTV has not lived up to those but has unduly favoured the ruling party in their coverage of political events.

“That obviously resulted in injustice to other political parties and those with an interest in Botswana’s political sphere as they were denied the opportunity to compete fairly with the ruling party. It is my view therefore that BTV’s coverage of political party activities does not meet the requirement of balance, equity and inclusiveness as set out under their mandate and guidelines. 

“Such needs to be corrected in order for BTV to play its role properly and effectively,” Makgonatsotlhe stated. He explained that in a democratic set up like that of Botswana, it is therefore imperative that institutions such as a national broadcaster should be established by law or some instruments that will clearly spell out their mandates and governance structure; transparent in the discharge of their mandates and functions and accountable to the nation and Parliament in particular.

Makgonatsotlhe said in his view the allocation of air time slots on BTV is an administrative function of the leadership of that entity. He revealed that he has found that they have in the performance of such, unduly favoured the ruling party over the opposition, thus giving them an undue advantage in obtaining political mileage. He explained that this clearly caused an injustice to the opposition parties.

“BTV should therefore ensure a proper application of the principles stated in their Mandate and Editorial Guidelines to ensure that their reporting of political party activities is balanced, inclusive and equitable both in terms of the content and of the number of events covered”, he recommended. 

He pointed out that only then would they be able to effectively and fairly inform the citizenry of the policies and programmes of the various political role players and to build the nation as per their mandate. This being an issue of national interest and being continuous in  its nature, it can only be appropriate that these remedial measures must be put in place immediately, said Makgonatsotlhe.

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Tuesday, 05 September 2017 15:10

ANC finally wakes up to its sense

African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says it is time his party and South Africans take seriously the part played by Botswana and its people in liberating South Africa.

“When we talk ANC we mention countries other than Botswana. It is high time we highlight the fact that the first external conference of the ANC outside the South Africa soil after the ANC was banned was in Lobatse in Botswana. 

“Secondly we need to have a monument in Botswana to remember the massacres that (sic) was carried out by the apartheid regime,” he stated. Mantashe, who led an ANC delegation to attend ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 55th Anniversary in Serowe, said they came to Botswana to express their gratitude. He said Batswana did not only support the idea of forming the ANC.

“In the inaugural conference of the ANC Kgosi Khama of Bangwato was there. The resolution to form the Native National Congress in 1912 was supported by Kgosi Mokgalagadi Moisakgomo of Bangwaketse. These mean Batswana have been part of the formation of the ANC. 

“The ANC is your party. The person who initiated the idea of the Freedom Charter is the son of Botswana. He made the proposal in the Cape Conference of the ANC. But because of the brutality of the Nationalist Party, he was not in Cape Town but he planted the seed of the idea on the Cape conference,” said Mantashe.

He explained that what should be appreciated more is that when the ANC decided to take up arms, the idea was formulated in Lobatse. You provided us with the most reliable route for our members hence your giving us the route made the Nationalist party to be aggressive and brutal in the Zeerust- Potchefstroom corridor, said Mantashe.

The ANC Secretary General thanked the BDP government for not having handed any of its members to the enemy. Explaining the relationship between BDP government and ANC, Mantashe stated that when ANC presented a very delicate request to President Seretse Khama verbally at an OAU Summit in Addis Ababa, Oliver Tambo was asked to put the request in writing. 

He revealed that the request was indeed put in writing but the response was not. He indicated that in the verbal response it was stated that, “We have considered the request but we found it difficult to accede to it because we did not want the apartheid regime to justify its suspicion that we are militarily aiding the liberation movement”. 

Mantashe said where Botswana’s strength is captured in the response is when they said ANC members will be allowed into Botswana if they would come quietly. 

“The next request for facilitation of the military training venue the government said it had to weigh options. They said if apartheid regime learns that they have facilitated such a venue they would come here claiming to be looking for those groups”, he said. 

Mantashe explained that Botswana Government presented an alternative plan, which was; if the ANC members could come to Botswana in a way that the government would not have seen them then the government would state that it never saw the ANC members passing through Botswana.

He said he had to explain this because “many people when we discuss role of the various liberation movements, they always get tempted to downplay the role of Botswana. Our view is that we have a duty to step up that role and explain to all and sundry how Botswana played its role including the formation of the Frontline States. 

“So we are here to tell you that we are one and need to work closely together. When we are in trouble, it is you who are in trouble. If we have got problems it is your problems.”

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Moses Ntwayagae joined BDP in 1977 at the age of 26 years at the same time when the party formed its Youth League. 

In fact he was born into Domkrag because his parents were members of the party. He didn’t know anything about opposition parties. He was a staunch critic of opposition parties at the time and didn’t share any of their ideologies.

He says they built the BDP Youth League. At that time Domkrag was a party that taught a great deal. Here is his account:

We had seminars at which we were drilled on governance issues and party mobilisation and strategies. When I joined the party I became deputy chairperson of the Youth League.

Mma Mophuting was Chairperson of the Youth League when it was still only Gaborone constituency. There was no Gaborone South or Gaborone North at the time. I was elected into the committee and when its term ended I was elected deputy Chairperson for Laughter Kopi, who was Chairperson.

Later at a youth congress held in Selibe Phikwe it was decided that every region must have a Choir. I am the first person to form a Choir in Gaborone called Bontleng Choir. In 1980 there was a youth festival at Ditshupong, which was officiated by Lady Ruth Khama. Bontleng Choir represented Gaborone. At the same time we formed another Choir called International.

In 1980 after the choir festival Matlhabaphiri approached me and asked that we use Bontleng Choir as the basis for the Party Choir. It was formed in 1981 by GUS Matlhabaphiri, Grace Petersen and I as its first Chairperson. There was Mma Magapa, Mr. Suping and Mr. Mokgobelelo and Thabeng as well as Mme Josephine Mohutsiwa and many others of Bontleng Choir. Others didn’t join, but these are the founding members of International Choir. We composed songs and I conducted the Choir. I remember very well when Mozambique president Samora Machel came to officiate at the Trade Fair and we needed to compose a song for him, which task was given two others but could not deliver. Then Daniel Kwelagobe asked me at the last minute to compose the song and in to two days’ time I had composed the song and was teaching it to the Choir!

Then we went for Choir competitions but International was transformed into a Party Choir so that it did not compete. Bontleng competed for the first time in Serowe where it took position three in BDP Choir competitions. Then in 1986 it competed in Molepolole and I won the trophy.

From 1985 to 1994 we had participated in eight competitions out of which my Choir had won five. We competed as Branches at regional level then proceeded to Nationals. Music for me is a talent from God that I was born with. I can’t tell you how I came to be a musician. I am not educated, my mother and father were singers.

I joined Seventh Day Adventist Church where I met people like Batho Molema who were very inspirational. There was one gentleman by the name Dal Kote who once worked for Radio Botswana. He inspired me very much with his voice. I emulated and exceeded him! Rre Batho Molema and Chris Mpuang were my music teachers in the Church Choir. They used to make me sing in Staff Notations, that’s where I copied notes and eventually became a singer and conductor through observation. That is my journey at BDP Youth League. 

The last Choir I conducted was in 1995 when I had relocated to Shoshong from Gaborone, after taking the Shoshong Constituency Choir when the constituency was still under Member of Parliament Modibedi Robi. It also competed with the other strong Choirs I had conducted before, but it still managed to win the cup in Selibe Phikwe.

The present day Donkrag

Today’s Domkrag pales in comparison to that of bo Rre Masire (the late Sir Ketumile Masire) and bo rre Peter Mmusi! Granted, change is constant, but I believe development must lead to righteousness and justice. However, when you check out the real situation, it is characterised by infighting and power struggles, which is not good for the party. In my analysis I still believe that the BDP did a very good job from 1965 until 1989, when things started sliding. I saw how things were not done properly in government. In 1989 I was nominated as a Councillor in Gaborone, my Chairperson was Paul Rantao. He loved me. But he belonged to opposition.I am stickler for procedure. I don’t necessarily blindly follow a person. For instance if the party constitution provides for procedure and you persuade me to go against it, I refuse.

In that Council, as you know as competing parties there is always disagreements. As a result I was caught right in the middle. At that time there were two Motions – one from then deputy Chairperson, Tshepo Motswagole (currently High Court Judge) for the opposition and another by Thuso Makgekgenene for the BDP. In my view both motions didn’t make the grade but were personal sentiments, which I didn’t agree with.

Motswagole’s motion was a personal attack on Matlhabaphiri. I didn’t agree with it and argued vehemently against it until he withdrew it, while Thuso’s was an attack on Rantao. I singlehandedly debated it and tore it apart. At that time I had gone for a year without being included into a single committee because I was considered arrogant. My partner in crime was Pelotelele Tlhaodi, but after those motions, I was selected into four committees!In 1995 I came to Shoshong at the request of Modibedi Robi who wanted me to help him with his campaign for primary elections and later national elections, which tasks I acquitted admirably as he went on to win both although at the time BDP was basically just riding on the crest of a rich wave. And then I was nominated into Central District Council. In 1999 I was asked by Kalamare people to come and represent them as their Councillor. I enjoyed my term as Councillor there for 10 years when I decided to leave in 2009 to pursue other commitments. I felt I had done my part after 20 years as Councillor. I don’t think politics is an inheritance it is service, that’s why I left. My track record speaks volumes there! The Trust and the Community Hall whose plan was modelled on the Selibe Phikwe plan are some of my legacies.I believe that at that time most senior party leaders in the likes of  bo-rre Mmusi, Patrick Balopi, rre Kebatlamang Morake; David Magang, who I still remember vividly, Ronald Sebego and Michael Tshipinare had a great love for me. It seemed they had respect for me because of my musical background but also for my oratory skills. They used to invite me to address political rallies and sometimes to teach in seminars. That’s how I grew up in Domkrag. But at that time there was respect for fellow democrats, when there was difference of opinion between members it would be solved internally you didn’t hear the matter being addressed in freedom squares. 

Yet factions existed at the time in BDP from as far back as 1991 when the late Moutlwakgola Nwako would challenge Mmusi in vain. Then rre Mompati Merafhe and Festus Mogae came in. I think the coming into the picture of these two men rattled Ponatshego Kedikilwe who eventually joined forces with Daniel Kwekagobe’s faction and they became very strong factions to contend with.

Yet these differences were not overly blown out of proportion like it happens currently. I don’t know. It may be because at that time there were no Facebook and Internet, but I know we were a generation that had respect for human dignity. 

I used to differ with Matlhabaphiri but when it came to party work we put all those differences aside. There were factions like Nkate/Merafhe and Kedikilwe/Kwelagobe these caused differences and realignments, but there was respect for one another notwithstanding. I remember the 1993 BDP congress known as Kgola Disana which was an open forum to thrash out our differences that started at 8PM and ended at 5AM. It was just open debates with no insults, scuffles and fistfights. 

When it ended we were a united party and went to elections. It was thought that Merafhe would win because he had been very vocal in debates during the night with an upper hand over Kwelagobe. But in the morning Kwelagobe worked his campaign magic and he won the election as secretary general while Mmusi won as Chairperson.

There was a repeat in 1995 in Mogoditshane when Kwelagobe won yet again. The 1997 congress was another hotly contested and it took another whole night of jostling and debating to resolve our differences so that in the morning we opted for compromise instead of elections by selecting from both factions to make the central committee. 

BDP has a strong tradition of conflict resolution which surpasses all other political parties to this day. It knows how to avoid crisis, it would rather go for a retreat than plunge headlong into an intractable crisis. This was best shown in 2003 when Ian Khama and Kedikilwe contested for the chairmanship and President Mogae made a divisive statement whilst opening a Women’s Congress in Selieb Phikwe that Vice President was campaigning for the chairmanship of the party with his blessings!

Some members of Kedikilwe’s faction such as the late Gomolemo Motswaledi and Gilbert Mangole were very unhappy. After the Gantsi congress there was a retreat arranged at which Mogae apologised that he never meant Kedikilwe any harm but that he had to lend Khama support since he was the one that had handpicked him from the Botswana Defence Force! Even then he apologised. I also remember in 1989 when the late Edison Masisi at a congress in Zwenshambe moved for compromise requesting that (re beile botsetse) the incumbent committee should continue instead of voting that would have caused many divisions! Only after general elections would the election of the central committee resume.

In 1998 when the late President Sir Ketumile Masire stepped down, I was Councillor. We were worried that some of the infighting in the party that were threatening the stability of the party could soil his reputation as the country’s best president ever. In my opinion Masire remains the best president ever.

I left the BDP in 2010. I feel the party did very well, but that it should have stepped aside in 1989 to rejuvenate itself. In terms of development today, we are marking time instead of going further unlike in the past. By this time we should be in a position to make timber and planks for roofing and ceiling on our own; but if you look at the programmes that BDP is making they are intended to woo voters, there is no planning at all.

What needs to be done is to remove the BDP from power not through hatred but the ballot box. I don’t have hatred for BDP not by the slightest degree, I only wish for democracy that is accompanied by developments that will realise job creation to avert the high rate of crime that we are witnessing. BDP must step down. 

I see lots of problems for the BDP. I don’t see anyone who can salvage it from this pit. 

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As the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) readies for the make or break National Congress in Tonota this coming July divisions are now deepening. This according to highly placed sources, has resulted in the BDP custodian Botsalo Ntuane, who is expected to defend his Secretary General post calling for a compromise. In fact Ntuane wants to broker a deal between the two warring factions for the chairmanship by giving up his seat and not defend it.

Fierce battle is expected for the position of Chairmanship between Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Nonofo Molefhi. A close associate of Ntuane within the BDP has told Botswana Guardian that Ntuane has expressed willingness to give Molefhi the green light to be the party secretary general so that current chairman Masisi continues unchallenged.

Some observers believe the outcome of the congress will determine the future of the party as well as gauge its ability to face a combined opposition - Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC - in the 2019 polls. Party President Ian Khama at the party National Council last month in Gaborone raised the danger of a fractured BDP going into the general elections against a united opposition.

He appealed to his followers to close ranks and reach a compromise where possible. His message was however diluted by his declaration of support for Masisi. The president’s declaration did not sit well with the supporters of Molefhi whose supporters went on to demonstrate their show of strength by singing party songs and spotting campaign regalia for their preferred candidate.

Ntuane is said to hold the opinion that the current lobby groups could be a repeat of history which resulted in the historic BDP split in 2010 that saw the formation of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
However, investigations by Botswana Guardian have revealed that operatives in the two opposing camps, Team Masisi and Team Molefhi known commonly as ‘Basisibetsi’ and ‘Banonofhi’ respectively have deployed foot soldiers all over the country in an attempt to dominate the various party structures by installing their activists.

But amidst the campaigning, reliable sources have indicated that Ntuane, worried by the looming divisions, has in accord with President Khama’s proposal, started talking to some of his colleagues about coming up with compromise solution to address the divisions afflicting the party in the build-up to the congress.
“He has indicated that he is willing to sacrifice and step aside so that the position of the secretary general can be used to broker

peace and unity between the two camps with Molefhi becoming secretary general,” said Ntuane’s close associate. Despite being the frontrunner to retain the post in Tonota it is alleged that Ntuane thinks Masisi must be given a free passage into chairmanship since he is the incumbent and also be supported to ascend to the state presidency on April 1st 2018.

So far, Ntuane’s informal proposal is still circulating within various circles in the party and it is not yet known how it will be received especially by the much energised Banonofhi team which is raring for a show down in Tonota.  Ntuane is also said to have indicated that in case his proposal fails to gain support, he will go ahead to defend his position.

Ntuane is to defend his seat against former cabinet minister and Botswana Ambassador to Japan Jacob Nkate, former Secretary General Mpho Balopi and Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness Phillip Makgalemele. Ntuane could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone and had not responded to an SMS sent to him at press time.

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 ‘BDP should find somebody else since I have lost interest in political office’

The Chairperson of Botswana National Sports Commission Solly Reikeletseng who was tipped to represent Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in Francistown South constituency in the next general election has informed this publication that he has lost interest in political office citing personal reasons.

Reikeletseng was recruited by BDP to help capture the constituency from Wynter Mmolotsi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Asked about this, Reikeletseng said that he is not afraid of the truth and disclosed that he was once approached by some BDP big guns to represent them in the 2019 general election.

“Seriously speaking when I was initially approached by some BDP bigwigs, I was seriously interested as I went on to accept the offer. I am one person who likes to tell the truth. I have reconsidered their offer and as things stand, I have lost interest in political office for now and BDP should find a better candidate to represent them in Francistown South. Concerning the 2019 general election, I am out of the race, but I cannot rule out the possibility of rejoining politics in the future,” he said.

When pressed to give reasons as to why he has suddenly decided to withdraw from the race before BDP’s primary elections, Reikeletseng declined to say anything save that his reasons are purely personal. He withdraws from Francistown South BDP Parliamentary race at a time when other candidates eyeing the constituency are engaged in vigorous unsanctioned campaigns to snatch the constituency from UDC.

The incumbent Mmolotsi representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under the UDC brought down Francistown City Mayor Sylvia Muzila with a thud in the past general election as he garnered 5261 votes against Muzila’s 3289. Botswana Congress Party (BCP) candidate Vain Mamela garnered 1511 votes.

With BCP in the UDC, it will certainly be a steep climb for the BDP candidate to wrestle the constituency, so it seems.

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The Independent Electoral Commission(IEC) will make a presentation on Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) at Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) National Council which starts today (Friday). IEC has introduced EVMs to be used for the first time in the 2019 General Election.

BDP Secretary General said the purpose of inviting IEC is to enable democrats to gain greater appreciation of how the machines work. It has however been alleged that the party decided to invite IEC to address its members as some were allegedly planning to bring a motion requesting government to suspend the use of the EVM in the 2019 General Election.

This comes after some people expressed skepticism, about the machine in areas which the IEC team visited to consult on the introduction of the EVM. Ntuane however stated that just like any stakeholder, especially as a political party and key player in elections, they found it fitting to play a part in their members being educated on the EVM. Bontle Marumolo ,an official at IEC- EVM office confirmed that her office, has been invited to make a presentation tomorrow at the BDP National Council.

There have been accusations that consultation was not done with the electorate who are directly affected by the introduction of the EVM prior to its introduction. The fear within some quarters of the BDP has been that the opposition could use failure to consult prior to the amendment of the Electoral Act to sway votes. EVM has sparked controversy, as there are claims that the machine could be manipulated during elections. Opposition parties have threatened to sue government if the machines are used in the election.
The opposition has also indicated that should the machines be used without a paper trail during the 2019 election then there would be no elections.

The opposition is insisting on the introduction of a security measure that would preserve the integrity of the electoral system. They want a voter verifiable paper trail (VVPT), which is basically a record of how votes were cast. Without such a system, it would be very easy to manipulate the electoral outcome; something that the opposition fears the BDP plans to do in 2019. The opposition has since petitioned Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Eric Molale to ask for the introduction of the VVPT.

Some BDP members of Parliament have also expressed reservation about the machines especially the lack of consultation with all relevant stakeholders regarding the amendment of the Electoral Act to introduce the machines for voting. IEC is currently doing consultations across the country after Parliament approved the Bill, which has since been signed into law.

Umbrella for Democratic Change through its Vice President Ndaba Gaolathe wrote a paper titled “Introduction of the Electronic Voting Machines in Botswana” which was submitted to diplomatic missions, arguing that the EVM discussion caught the ruling party MPs unawares as it did all other MPs. He stated in the paper that this is not a surprise as it is consistent with the governance style of the current regime.

Published in News
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 15:34

MP Tshireletso quits politics

After 40 years in politics, Member of Parliament for Mahalapye East Botlogile Tshireletso will resign from active politics, she has told Botswana Guardian.

The plan, she says, is to consult her constituents and the entire democrats in May this year. Tshireletso says her journey in active politics has been a learning curve full of ups and downs. Perhaps her number one observation is that women are refusing to stand and campaign. She says women feel intimidated by men and are not courageous.

“Politics is not for the faint-hearted, and if you are not bold, you are going to quit prematurely,” she says. She says women list, among other issues, not understanding how to balance family with politics, handling the pressure of being insulted by other politicians, and the tendency where people dig others’ past to de-campaign them. She says women can be each other’s worst critics. “In politics, there is no respect. Whether you are young or old, they will bash you.

I have been condemned for my not-so-good English and not being an intellectual, but I stood firm and served my country,” she says. Her main worry, she explains, is that she does not see women coming forth from her constituency to stand in 2019. “When I joined politics at the age of 24, I knew what I was getting myself into,” she says, urging women in politics to grow a thick skin.

A free spirit, Tshireletso says that being in the executive committee has limited her from talking about ‘some issues’ that she believes must be challenged. “That’s where policies are made and one feels limited sometimes,” she says, without wanting to divulge much.
The MP has often caused mixed reactions over her sentiments that abortion should be legalised. While some people see the view as a welcome gesture for women that are not ready to be mothers, or those that did not plan on having more babies, others feel Tshireletso is encouraging murder and irresponsible behaviour.

But she has remained unfazed. “I find it pointless that a woman should be forced to keep a child she does not want, only for her to turn to unprofessional personnel for help or resort to throwing the child in dustbins immediately after birth.” She says should a legal clinic be made available, clients will be counselled and attended to by trained professionals.

Her next move
Tshireletso says that she wants to ‘relax outside politics’ while still in Botswana. She says that she will fully get engaged on her new foundation that aims at mentoring young men and women who want to venture into politics. Under this initiative, her mentees would get to appreciate that politics is not about money but national service. “A lot of them get frustrated along the way because they get broke.

Their expectation is that they will become rich and when it does not happen, they become bitter and miserable,” she says. Additionally, she will use her retirement to assist the vulnerable in the society. She is confident that she was born a leader. Meanwhile, Tshireletso is the president of Democracy and Human Right Committee of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU).

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The Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP) has formally raised objections about the number of constituencies allocated to it during the just-ended opposition cooperation talks involving the four parties in the opposition coalition - Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The party has been given four constituencies, while the BNF, BCP and BMD have got 22, 17 and 14 constituencies each in that order. In a letter written January 28th and signed by party secretary general, Otlaadisa Otlaadisa and addressed to the UDC secretary general, Ndaba Gaolathe, the party indicates that, it discussed the UDC-BCP cooperation talks and resolved that it was underrepresented regarding the number of constituencies allocated to it.

“It is therefore on that breath that the committee has resolved to make a fresh request and or submissions as we hereby do, through you on our preferred additional constituencies,” said the letter.  Specifically, the party wants to be given Gaborone South which has been a BNF stronghold for many years until 2014 when the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won it. Said the BPP, “The rationale behind this request or submission is that our vice president, a capable man, is based in Gaborone. It is therefore appropriate in our view that as a senior member of both the Botswana Peoples’ Party and the UDC he has a constituency in Gaborone to contest.”

The BPP explained that, should the BPP not be allocated a constituency in Gaborone or at least one major city, it will face certain death because, “…cities play a crucial role on the development of a political space.” Mbaakanyi Lenyatso is the BPP vice president and stays in Gaborone. The party would like Francistown West to be given to it, so that, its president, Motlatsi Molapisi, who resides in Francistown, may have a constituency to contest in the second city. The constituency has been allocated to the BCP.

The BPP also wants Nata-Gweta, Mmadinare and Shashe West, all of which have been given to the BCP, to be allocated to it. As a bare minimum the BPP wants to be allocated eight constituencies. Efforts to ask for confirmation of receipt of the BPP letter from Gaolatle could not bear fruit as his cell phone rang unanswered.


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The switching of political parties has increasingly become the dominant feature in the Botswana political arena. We continue to witness political defections of activists from one party to the other with surprising alacrity. This article endeavors to analyse this experience of political deviance in conjunction with the theory of prevailing politics in Botswana. I have written this article in reminiscence of revolutionary political study circles of the International Socialists Botswana.

The jibe of this article is to a relative extent, preoccupied with the individuals who held key leadership positions during their reign in the opposition and also played active role in frontal attack of BDP political ideology. Their energetic function in the legitimisation, championing of opposition politics and contestation of the BDP rule portrayed them as individuals who had conformed to the opposition out of morality and social conscience, and not coercion. Such individuals attracted accolades like party firebrands and political stalwarts whilst in the opposition. It would seem to me that to be showered with such praiseworthiness, one would have gone through a thorough initiation of political consciousness for his or her in-depth clarity regarding fundamental ideological differences between adversarial parties i.e. BDP vis a vis Opposition. 

On the contrary, we are experiencing a different situation.  The then political deviants have switched their political conviction as if they had never pioneered opposition politics. They behave as if the social and economic underpinnings of the poor and disadvantaged have all of a sudden evaporated. The former so – called opposition “firebrands” have chosen to ignore the appalling misery and poverty affecting the majority of Batswana. Whilst, it has been established that the BDP uses utilitarian power (use of money) for its recruitment drive, it is also evidently clear that the opposition activists have become calculative on incentives they perceive to gain for having to jump into the BDP bandwagon.

The truth is that these political defectors have been blinded by their opportunistic greed and immorality that they are so determined to worm their way into the BDP`s ruling liberal social clique to the extent of even being used as ‘victims‘ to be saved and liberated by the BDP ‘superior’ leadership. In return the BDP “superiors” fashionably use these economically-marginalised ‘peasants to robotically propagate the BDP government palliative programs which are only useful in curing the symptoms of poverty and not the root causes of poverty. Yet the socio-economic status of majority of these opportunistic defectors has not changed much. The only jobs these poor “ignoramuses” can find include; mowing the lawns of the privileged, picking up their garbage, unplugging their sinks, transporting and delivering so many of their expensive lifestyle furniture, being nominated as specially elected councilors, getting appointed as campaign managers and serving as public - rally rousers.  

This new political sensibility ultimately expresses and celebrates a paradoxical lifestyle of self interest. Defectors to BDP from opposition are victims of opportunistic ignorance. In their inquisitive spirit of idle curiosity, they juggle political interests for economic goals. By abandoning sympathy of the poor in preference of ascribing themselves to the ruling class, these former opposition leaders have been ‘mystified’ into conforming enthusiastically to a political system that exploits and their instincts have been contaminated by their vile selfish-interests.

The main reason why we are experiencing this hype of political deviancy is that our politics has become stagnant and is going through a process of degeneration and pollution because all parties are trying to find the cheapest way of galvanising the electorate. The increasing lack of political education and clarity across parties, especially over where they stand on fundamental economic issues and the well being of the electorate at large, suggest that they have all succumbed to the temptation of playing for short-term gains. Sadly, Botswana politics have been subjected to cheap phrase-mongering “election” cry for winning common people votes.

For a fact the BDP state does not have much that it can deliver to the masses. BDP is a party which is not truly serious about using the state as a means of improving the well being of Batswana. The party has failed to ensure ample economic opportunities for Batswana to live a happy and a poverty free life. Its perverse backwash of welfare colonialism has specialised in sustaining poverty and preventing personal autonomy of Batswana. After half a century of its rule, majority of Batswana are either unemployed or underemployed, underpaid and overexploited. The BDP leadership has demonstrated how violent and cruel they are. Their use of police brute force to donkey - whip young graduates with ‘sjamboks’ for their rightful demand of job security, and the closure of Tati Nickel and BCL Mines in the most unscrupulous fashion, are recent cases in point.  In a nutshell, BDP`s empty slogan “DOMKRAG” accurately defines its identity.

Conversely, the Botswana opposition lacks the utmost thoroughness in giving true answers to the concrete political crisis brought by BDP. It seems the compulsions and imperatives of finding alliances (UDC+) have become the only alternative driving choice rather than considered political convictions of opposition parties. Some of the leadership in the opposition are allegedly questioning and considering to turn their back on their party`s best instincts, and willing to sacrifice their party`s long-term political and economic interests for short-term gain. In essence they seek to uproot working class politics from opposition. By so doing the opposition will have resolved to launch a ferocious ideological offensive against the oppressed and to assert that capitalism is a natural and permanent form of society. This does not augur well for Botswana politics.

The abandonment of working class politics by opposition will be to drift into the morass of unbelievably disgraceful confusion in the preference of bourgeois democracy. The working class does not only possess a numerical muscle in terms of voting power, but they are the most oppressed and enslaved people under BDP rule. Their miserable condition is the most justification for regime change and therefore it will be disappointingly and flippantly scandalous in the increasing monstrous oppression of the working class by BDP if the Opposition can choose to be opportunistic.

Truth of the matter is that the Opposition describes its politics in a liberal pompous fashion and most of the time without content. The political agitation adopted by opposition exposes its fear to break irrevocably with the petty - bourgeois democracy and therefore countering BDP in a spirit of sentimental romanticism. Practically, the opposition seems to have accepted that BDP must be overthrown but emotionally being attracted by its predatory bourgeois democracy and its perpetual exploitation of the poor. Yet to prune politics to such an extent means to reduce it not only to opportunism, but to ram it into public`s perception in the most shallowest form and therefore imperceptibly falsifying the opposition core political programme: social – democracy.

This character of politics has consequently resulted in the opposition adoption of the tactics of despair in providing alternative solutions to the prevailing conditions bedeviling the masses. The approach has blunted and vulgarised the politics of opposition in that they now push to the foreground and extol what appears to be the same BDP political agenda – the neo-liberal utopia. To put it in Karl   Marx words “such a panegyric is by no means a mere impulse, a mere declamation, or a political sally. It is a folly of despair.” This has consecutively caused the state of Botswana political arena to smack of nothing but venal political opportunism and atrocious vulgarism. No wonder all parties across the political divide do claim to be in alliance with tenants of social – democracy.

The failure to adopt the revolutionary boldness by Opposition will cost them a prolonged struggle against the BDP because it now increasingly becomes difficult for the electorates to gauge the difference between opposition and BDP. This even creates a potentially disastrous uncertainty about the future of regime change. For it to appeal in a more resounding way, Opposition has to instill into the minds of the masses, that it is really capable of realising the interests of Batswana, especially the working class and peasants. Opposition politics should mark a new and qualitatively different stage of human development as the question of bringing about a new regime that is capable of serving the exploited instead of exploiters is acquiring practical importance.

This requires the opposition to introduce political education that will strip its members of every shadow of ideological ignorance. The opposition should demonstrate the stronger will, the greater organisation and the most skilful and resolute leadership to deal with the concrete crisis emerging under BDP rule so as to compel the electorates to recognise that indeed the “era of regime change” has set in.

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