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BDP elections in doubt

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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is a party in disarray at the moment, and uncertainty reigns over what the future really holds at Tsholetsa as the 2019 general election looms large.

Tensions abound within the party, with glaring factionalism taking centre stage and prompting a call by some, for the party’s elective congress to proceed without election of a new Central Committee. The BDP’s Secretary General Mpho Balopi has since revealed that party members will use the impending National Council to deliberate whether to hold an elective congress or not.

As per its constitution, the party holds an elective congress every two years. Already, some democrats have shown interest to challenge the current Central Committee members for office.
Even though the party has not given the green light for campaigns, democrats vying for office have started speaking to fellow party members to lobby for votes. The divided party’s break or make elective congress is expected in the month of July at a venue and date yet to be decided.

There have been calls by some democrats for the party not to hold an elective congress, even at their other structures. This year the party is expected to have a Youth Wing elective congress, Women Wing elective congress and a National Elective Congress. This publication has established that there is a lobby for a compromise, but chances of the compromise deal succeeding are very slim, inside sources say.

This is because despite Balopi’s assertions that the party emerged united from the Palapye retreat, there is a strained relationship between the current leadership and some members of the party including ministers, Members of Parliament and Councillors.

Those who believe the current central committee has failed the party are pushing for the elective congress while those sympathetic to the leadership want a compromise. Their contention is that since it is election year, they have to focus on general elections to win with large numbers instead of being distracted by inner party elections.

However the opposing side has stood by the party constitution and wants it to be followed to the letter and respected above all else. In the past, compromise deals were made and elections were avoided at the request of then President Ian Khama.

Balopi told members of the media in Palapye after the party’s retreat that the National Council which traditionally is held in March, would deliberate on the question of the elective congress. “We have tradition as BDP that during election year we avoid elections internally and focus on general elections.

The issue of the youth wing, women wing and national congress will be discussed during our national council,” he said. Balopi stated that the democrats who attended the in-house meeting were on the same page that the matter should be taken seriously because of the impact it could have on the performance of the party in the general elections.

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I BUY NO POWERS

Yvonne Mooka

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Many will remember Apostle Joel Keitumele as Ntsoro the comedian who would leave people in stitches with his rib-cracking jokes.

Now an apostle who leads Heavenly International Soul church with his wife Amo Keitumele, he confided in The Midweek Sun that he has never bought powers to make himself and his church powerful as it is often alleged by members of the public.

Two years ago, there were allegations that he had lost his mind after he failed to honour an agreement with a seller of powers in Ghana. “They were saying I was mentally disturbed and that I was being tormented by a snake because I dishonoured an agreement from a seller of powers in Ghana. I have never been to Ghana and the rumours were baseless,” he said, adding that someone even lied that his aunt works at Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital and had seen Keitumele at the hospital.

He also recalled the time he was invited at Btv with now born again Shumba Ratshega. He was wearing two rings. “One was my wedding ring and the other on my right hand was a Versace. A caller asked why I was wearing the other one and there were talks that it’s for powers.” He said he took it off and gave it to the presenter to wear and that nothing happened to him.

Lately, there are allegations that he wears an eagle belt, known in street lingo as ‘Prophetic belt’and purpoted to have powers to increase miracles in church and to attract more people. It is won by several other pastors and prophets among them, Shepherd Bushiri, Alph Lukau, Passion Java and Eubert Angel. He confirmed that he has it. He however said there is nothing like a prophetic belt or prophetic shoes.

“Of recent, God released a cloud of young prophets and these like their older mentors or spiritual fathers are stylish and they like fashion. “We have tapped into that. So most of us have Versace shoes, Eagle belts because we like looking good. People refer to them as ‘Prophetic this and that’ but there is nothing prophetic about them.

It’s just that we like them but we don’t need them for powers,” he said. Keitumele confirmed that he sells the trending shoes and belts at his store in Gaborone. “We just like our belts. Nothing more. The power is in the price. Monna ke monna ka setlhako le lebante,” he said.

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LEGABIBO challenges same sex criminalisation in court tomorrow

Keletso Thobega

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The Gaborone High Court will tomorrow (Thursday) hear a case on the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Advocacy group, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals in Botswana, with the support of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre is challenging Botswana laws on homosexuality. Judges Dube, Leburu, and Tafa will hear this matter from the bench. LEGAGIBO is admitted as a friend of the court.

In May last year, a gay man only identified as ‘LM’ filed a petition with the High Court, arguing that the anti-homosexual laws in Botswana are unconstitutional. In the papers, he argued that decriminalising homosexuality is a human right and is important for everyone to feel safe and welcomed.

“Decriminalising homosexuality is about people’s lives, freedom and their right to live the life they want to and deserve. It is not only about the choice to choose who to love and sleep with but it is also about social security.” A media statement from the two parties indicates that LEGAGIBO seeks to advance submissions before the full bench of the High Court on the practical effect and social impact that sections 164 (a), 164 (c) and 167 of the Penal Code have on the daily lives and experiences of LGBT persons.

“Particularly, the submission illustrates how the criminalisation of same-sex sexual conduct limits LGBT person’s ability to access basic social services, increases their chances to discrimination and infringes on their basic human rights,” it reads.

It further states that “Botswana is a diverse society and the Constitution protects the freedom and dignity of all persons in the country, regardless of whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex.” The press release notes that “Over the past three years, the Botswana courts have shown themselves to be champions of jurisprudence which acknowledges the rights of LGBT persons and their rights to equal protection before the law.”

Section 164 of Botswana’s Penal Code stipulates in part that, ‘carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature is outlawed.’ Those convicted are liable to imprisonment of up to seven years.

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