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The rise and fall of a giant

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What’s next for Makgato

Is it too early to write Dorcas Makgato’s political obituary?

Will President, Mokgweetsi Masisi save her political career? These are some of the questions on everybody’s lips at the moment in the advent of the political heavyweight’s mighty fall in the October 23rd elections.

Makgato lost her parliamentary constituency in Sefhare-Ramokgonami to Umbrella for Democratic Change’s, Dr Kesetile Gobotswang with a margin of 3 779 votes.

She was also overlooked for Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) and Speaker of National Assembly.

Prior to elections, Makgato fought a lone political battle with her former benefactor and former President Ian Khama and his brother Tshekedi, in what many believed was on behalf of her party and President Masisi.

The Khama brothers through their breakaway party, Botswana Patriotic Front, were making inroads into the once Botswana Democratic Party’s stronghold constituencies. When all were quite, Makgato stood up and took the Khamas head-on, risking her political career in the process.

The Khamas invaded her territory and de-campaigned her while propping up the UDC candidate.

And now that the dust has settled and political appointments have been made, she has been left out.

Makgato is not just an ordinary member of the BDP; she is the party’s Chairperson of the Women’s Wing, and a former cabinet member.

Some political pundits have posited that if over looked Makgato could canvas for support and emerge as the leader of a faction towards the elective congress billed for next year.

However, a Political Analyst, Leonard Sesa, is still hopeful that a special position might still be reserved for the Iron lady.

“Maybe the President has something special for her and for the elections campaign chair, Tebelelo Seretse because I don’t see them being overlooked just like that,” he said, adding that if time goes by without any mention of any appointment for the two women, then the Women’s League should stand up and fight for their chairperson.

“She could have done better as a speaker because she is brave,” Sesa said.

Meanwhile the BDP Women’s League, Secretary General, Neo Maruapula could not be drawn into discussing Makgato’s future saying they are yet to meet as the league.

“I don’t want to say my own opinion and put it as that of the women’s wing. We are yet to meet and have a plan,” Maruapula said.

Efforts to get a comment from Makgato hit a snag as her mobile was off.

Makgato’s journey to parliament started in 2009 as a SEMP brought in by former president Ian Khama, something which has led to some within the BDP to label her a “ Khamarite’, at least until the time of her public fall out with the former president leading up to elections.

She however went on to win the 2014 general elections beating Gobotswang with a margin of 1552 votes. During her time she served in different Ministries such as Trade and Industry, Health and Wellness and Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs.

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Politics

BDP MPs slammed for snubbing civil society budget debate

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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been castigated for ignoring an invitation by Civil Society to analyse and discuss the 2020/21 national budget.

This came to the fore at a consultative meeting hosted for Members of Parliament (MPs) by Civil Society to analyse the budget and determine whether it has the interests of children at heart.

While invitations were sent out to the Speaker of the National Assembly, party headquarters and MP’s offices, the turnout for the budget session was disappointing as only 10 opposition MPs from Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) attended, while the BDP and Alliance for Progressives (AP) were not represented.

The event was graced by Leader of Opposition and Botswana Congress Party President (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando, accompanied by MPs Taolo Lucas, Carter Hikuama, Goretetse Kekgonegile, Pono Moathodi, Motsamai Motsamai and Baratiwa Mathoothe of the BPF.

Various attendants who spoke at the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of BDP MPs, saying the ruling party showed neither interest nor respect for the Civil Society.

This is against a promise that President, Mokgweetsi Masisi made when he took power to work with unions, media and civil societies.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA spoke to some of those who attended the event to get their views.

BOCONGO CEO, Botho Seboko

It continues to disappoint how some things don’t change. How year in and year out, Parliament after Parliament we continue to lobby members of Parliament, particularly those in the ruling party to work with CEOs to better Botswana.

If one cannot make time to meet with community organisations on very important issues such as the subject today on Children’s rights to Health, Nutrition and proper education we continue to wonder what is keeping them at bay.

However, we hope to work together for Batswana. This parliament is more youthful so we are hoping for robust engagements.

Maun East MP Goretese Kekgonegile

They know very well that the budget lacks commitment to the priorities raised on the SONA last year, they just avoided embarrassment.

MPs from the BDP don’t respect Civil Society Organisations and don’t care about any relationship because they know very well that they have no money to splash on their campaign.

Goretetse Kekgonegile

If it was the Private sector/ business community where there are opportunities for corruption deals to be hatched and cut they could have attended in large numbers.

Civil Societies should continue piling pressure on MPs if they want them to push their interests.

You should have influenced the outcome of the general elections by voting for a party that would push your interests by driving meaningful change.

But instead we find ourselves faced with all these problems.

Bobonong MP Taolo Lucas

Taolo Lucas

If this invitation had been sent by the private sector there would have been many BDP MPs in attendance but because civil society organisations have nothing to give them, they won’t bother to attend their events.

BOSASNET Acting Director, Prisca Mokgadi

The BDP should have particularly attended the meeting as it is the party in power.

We expected them to attend this meeting so that they can get feedback and go and implement things at their respective ministries.

They are the party in power and they should be willing to get feedback and insight from Civil Society.

Prisca Mokgadi

Children’s issues are very important and they must be taken seriously.

Government is talking about change of mindset and we want to see that coming from them.

Mokgadi however thanked the opposition MPs who showed commitment by attending.

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Balopi undecided on SG position

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Seretse may take Tsogwane head on

The Botswana Democratic Party’s Secretary General, Mpho Balopi is still undecided on whether to defend his seat as the ruling party’s SG or not. In an interview with this publication after the party’s monthly press conference at Tsholetsa House, Balopi said that he was still to decide on whether to take part in the coming party’s National Congress.

“I have not decided yet whether to contest for the SG position or not for now. “Said Minister Balopi.

Balopi’s statement follows allegations that the SG has been asked to not contest by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

TARGETTED: Slumber Tsogwane

There have been reports of fallout between the President and his SG. When asked to deny or confirm the allegations Balopi responded by stating that he was a BDP member in good standing.

“I am a member in good standing, a member who served only the BDP my entire life, who abides by the dictates of the constitution, the code of conduct, the rules and regulations,” he emphasized and went on to state highlight that he believes in the ideals and values of the BDP and is always willing to serve the party wherever and whenever he is required to do so.

The SG also confirmed to the media that the party had received the former National Campaign Manager, Tebelelo Seretse’s resignation from central committee without prejudice.

TAKING AIM: Tebelelo Seretse

There have been allegations that Seretse resigned from the Central committee so that she can work on her campaign to challenge Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane for Chairperson Position but Balopi explained that Seretse had cited the need to focus on her businesses as the reason for her resignation.

Efforts to get Seretse to elaborate on the manner of business she wanted to focus on hit a snag, as she did not respond to messages sent to her phone.

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What next for UDC?

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Crushed by a technicality, analysts call for evaluation and new leader.

On Wednesday, a five-man bench at the Court of Appeal (CoA) crushed Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) hope of taking over government from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

The court dismissed, with costs, the Umbrella’s request to challenge the outcome of 14 constituencies at last year’s general elections. The CoA ruled that, according to the Constitution of Botswana, it does not have the jurisdiction to hear such petitions.

The UDC were forced to turn to the CoA after High Court threw out their original petition on the basis the coalition failed to comply with Electoral Petitions procedures.

In light of Wednesday’s ruling, The Voice staffer, DANIEL CHIDA spoke to three Political Analysts to get their views on where the UDC go from here.

PROFESSOR AGREEMENT JOTIA

What makes a distinction between a democracy and any form of government is the respect and honour of the rule of law.

In this case, argumentatively so, the UDC approached the Courts as per the provisions of our democratic process as enshrined within our Constitution and they were given a platform to vent the displeasure.

The Courts listened and ruled. However, whether the ruling is what they expected is a subject for another intellectual engagement.

Moving forward, I take it that the UDC has a mammoth task to go on a journey of self-introspection in terms of making a very critical analysis of what else could have gone wrong during the elections besides the claims of election rigging.

Fundamental to UDC’s critical examination should be on the leadership frontier: what did the leadership do right and where did they blunder? What else could have been done differently and by who?

Going forward, how does the UDC mend the political walls of Jericho? Whom should the UDC associate with going forward and which relationship should they bring to an end?

How do you turn the UDC into a political brand going into 2024?

What do the figures of those masses who voted for UDC mean to the leadership and Botswana’s political platform in general?

These are difficult, uncomfortable and tough questions which demand nothing but logic-driven and fair critical analysis.

All in all, our democracy has never been so challenged before and I guess this is why democracy as a principle of governance is beautiful.

We disagree, challenge and accommodate diversity of opinion.

Botswana is our country – let us move forward to socio-economic and political prosperity despite the fact that some are in grief. With God, our tomorrow will be better!

LEONARD SESA

The UDC ‘s move of taking this matter to court is a sign of democracy on its own but what happened should be a wake up call for IEC in the future. It shows that they must improve and do better.

The UDC members were within their constitutional rights and the outcome shouldn’t be a blow to them but to introspect their movement.

UDC lost on a technicality and this could be based on how they interpreted law.

There are still 2024 elections and bye elections coming along the way.

Another point to be noted from the case is how the President, Mokgweetsi Masisi did not interfere.

When abroad, he made a statement that he was waiting for the outcome just like anybody else and he was prepared to accept the results.

KEBAPETSE LOTSHWAO

This was a political matter that didn’t need the court to decide.

Batswana rejected UDC and the party should have evaluated the elections to see why Batswana chose the BDP over them.

However, the ruling has brought an end to the matter and it will be laid to rest.

They must take stock of themselves since there is 2024 coming.

When doing introspection, they must also look at their leadership, especially Boko who lead the movement twice but failed to bring the needed results.

Maybe it is time for the BNF to hand over to someone like Prince Dibeela who listens to people.

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