The year 2018 will go down in history as the year Botswana politics both within the ruling party and the opposition block went through turmoil and distress.
The Big fallout
The biggest political fallout has been between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama. Since stepping down as the country’s fourth president, Khama has created another center of power causing tensions between him and Masisi. Khama has been going around villages addressing kgotla meetings and dishing soups, to the chagrin of the current administration who administered broadcasting blackout on him.
The deep seated fallout played itself out when Khama served Masisi with Statutory Notice seeking the appointment of former Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Isaac Kgosi as his private secretary. Through his lawyers, Toteng and Company, Khama served government with a statutory in August this year demanding that Kgosi be appointed as his Senior Private Secretary within a reasonable time failing which he will institute review proceedings and seek an order declaring that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision is unreasonable, irrational and unlawful and be set aside.
In an interview with The Patriot on Sunday, Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi maintained that Government will not change her stance on declining to bring Kgosi back into the public service. “Yes we maintain our stance that Kgosi cannot be appointed private secretary to the former President Khama,” he said, refusing to discuss the reasons.
Stepping up his fight against the current administration, Khama is now questioning the legitimacy of the presidency of Masisi within the Botswana Democratic Party. He is supporting the case in which Kamali Jacobs has taken Masisi and the party to court to challenge the legitimacy of the party president.
Complicating matters further, cabinet minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has declared that she will challenge Masisi for the party presidency at the next year’s special congress. One of the issues that seemed to have caused a fallout between the former political allies is the refusal by President Masisi to allow Khama to use government aircrafts willy nily.
Another political shock that stunned many within the BDP is that of former political and business buddies Secretary General Mpho Balopi and member of the central committee Samson Moyo Guma.
Guma surprised Balopi by announcing that he will be contesting the secretary general postion at next year’s elective congress. Since 2013, the two had been in the same faction together with member of the communication committee Roseline Panzirah Matshome who has since dumped Balopi for Guma camp.
She intends to contest the position of deputy Secretary General and it is not yet clear if the incumbent Shaw kgathi will seek re-election. Guma and Matshome left the BDP together in 2010 to form Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and upon their return they joined forces with Balopi.
The fallout has seen nasty campaigns with Balopi’s billboards vandalized while on the other hand Guma accused the Balopi camp of leaking their business deals to the media thus tarnishing his name.
BMD versus UDC
Not to be left out the Umbrella for Democratic Change started the year on a very confusing note to themselves and the nation.
The coalition had congress/conference in February which all its leaders had conflicting definitions of with founding member Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) saying it is just a consultative conference. On the other hand Botswana Congress Party (BCP) said it was going to be a decisive congress.
The Ditshupo Congress seemed to have fueled more divisions and confusion within the alliance with BMD being looked as the black sheep.
The political fight between BMD and BCP over constituency allocation which collapsed the first umbrella project sprang up again and this time Botswana National Front was on the side of its offspring.
In October this year, UDC suspended BMD from the UDC for bringing the party’s name into disrepute and moth later expelled it. The BMD has since taken the matter to court to challenge their suspension and the membership of BCP within the UDC.
And political winners and losers of 2018
He is the biggest winner in the political maneuverings currently besieging the BDP as he became the chose as the country’s second citizen. He is the first politician from Boteti area to be appointed Vice president.
While many were still stunned by her nomination and endorsement as specially elected legislator, the Boteti born economist got luckier after the 1st of April when President Masisi appointed her the Minister of Investment, trade and Industry.
She is the youngest cabinet minister and making trends internationally.
Brigadier (R) Peter Fana Magosi
After being ditched by the previous administration and thrown into the wilderness, the former head of Military Intelligence saw himself being employed to head the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS).
He replaced the man who orchestrated his downfall Isaac Kgosi, a move regarded by some as ‘karma’.
The removal of Tshekedi Khama from the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism seems to be the last straw on the Khama dynasty. The family had invested a lot in tourism and had grip on it and his removal has put their interests in danger.
With the fall out between President Masisi and former President Khama, their grip on the tourism sector has been loosened.
Before he was removed as DISS boss, Kgosi boosted before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he doesn’t report to anyone even to the head of state. This made him the most powerful man in the country. Before he could knew, he was removed as the DISS DG in an unfashionable way escorted out.
Former President Khama has tried to fight for him by serving government with statutory notice to have Kgosi as his Private Secretary but this has hit a snag.
The Minister of Defense, Justice and Security who is also the deputy Secretary General of BDP could believe when he lost to a political novice Francisco Kgoboko in the primary elections. Many were shocked when Kgathi appealed the results yet he lost by 4865 votes against 2593. He was granted another chance by the Central Committee by calling for a re-run. This did not go well for him as he lost with an increased margin. Kgoboko 4,212 votes against Kgathi’s 1,811, beating the latter by a 2,401.