Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Advocate Duma Boko’s decision to become the face of the coalition 2019 campaign seems to be raising eyebrows among members as they feel there is too much personalisation of the coalition by the leader.
Ever since the UDC leader started off his ten-day countrywide campaigns there has been controversy surrounding his campaign style where some within the party feel he wants everything to be about him as the party president.
He has even been accused of leaving behind his running mate Dumelang Saleshando for this year’s general elections, or even the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC). In hushed tones, some complain about his application to patent the UDC branding to his name; the use of aircrafts branded and personalized to his name; as well as the recent claims that he wants the coalition to take advantage of former President Dr Ian Khama for political mileage in ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) stronghold constituencies.
SOME UDC TOP MEN SOUGHT THE ELDERS’INTERVENTION
Those who have been timid to openly show their discomfort with how Boko wants to run things, including prominent figures within the coalition, are said to have secretly enlisted the intervention of the elders associated with the UDC contracting partners. It is for this reason that recently a number of these elders, including Michael Dingake of the BCP and the BNF Veterans structure were seen to openly warn against tainting the opposition coalition culture.
This has since divided the UDC as some are happy and have no issue with the way Boko goes about the campaign business, while others believe it could be suicidal. Advocate Boko has since indicated that they do not hate Dr Khama but were, and are still against the BDP-government system.
Regarding his running mate Advocate Boko who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, has pointed out that Saleshando is busy with the coalition manifesto and would soon be visible. He explained that Saleshando would soon have his own set of wings if the need arises. The UDC will launch its manifesto this week in Maun. There have been unconfirmed claims that Dr Khama might grace the event. There are however fears among contracting partners that his attendance might cloud the focus of the event.
UDC members believe the use of Dr Khama to wrestle power especially by unseating BDP in its strongholds might raise the question of credibility or strength by the UDC in such areas. Sources believe that acceptable alignment to the UDC by Batswana might be questionable when the former BDP President is used. However, it seems with determination and hunger to unseat the ruling party Advocate Boko is determined to fight with anything at his disposal.
The BDP is putting Dr Khama at arms-length and last week he sought guidance from his subjects during a meeting in Serowe on what he should do with his political life. This development has since annoyed UDC contracting member- Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association. The veterans whom last year called for the BNF to ditch the UDC have expressed disappointment that there could be secret funding from Dr Khama.
They are calling for the members of the UDC to condemn and oppose such funding. The veterans have since issued a letter regarding this development. They argue that the funding and endorsement of UDC candidates for 2019 have not been sanctioned by the NEC but are personally the brainchild of the UDC President.
THE BNF VETERANS NOT BACKING DOWN
This week BNF Veterans Chairman Patrick Kgoadi told The Midweek Sun that they stand by their letter and press statement regarding the influence of external forces in the UDC. This is not the first time that the BNF veterans have expressed their unhappiness at the way their leader is dealing with issues of funding of both the BNF and the UDC.
Last year the veterans raised alarm when Advocate Boko took it upon himself to transport delegates to the BNF Conference in Rakops from the 57 constituencies and to take care of other logistics. The veterans expressed concern that the funds were not routed through rightful BNF channels. This week Kgoadi said despite what the UDC leader has been saying in trying to clear the mist they believe they have to meet to further clarify things for the benefit of ‘everyone.’
He said what they are doing should not be seen as an attack on the leadership but doing what principle dictates as per the culture of the BNF. “BNF is the backbone of the coalition and we should be seen to be doing things right. As the BNF we have for many years opposed external funding especially the one that is not routed through rightful party structures. “We do not know what the motive of such funding is because there is always a motive as we have experienced with Botswana Democratic Party!
“We will engage our central committee. It is not a question of whether we would be listened to or not but it is all about principle,” he revealed. Kgoadi stated that they are worried about media reports on what is happening to the coalition. “We also want to know if our leadership is still on course regarding the mandate they have in uniting the opposition or now things have changed and the opposition is being torn apart,” he said.
The UDC campaign is being led by a South Africa Political Specialist Firm called Status. The company is doing the Public Relations, Branding and Marketing for the UDC by packaging messages to suit targeted audiences. For many this campaign has much focused on Advocate Boko and not much on the coalition project. Advocate Boko recently told UDC members to remain unshaken and put trust in him.
He revealed that after the Manifesto launch, people would understand the type of campaign he is unleashing on the BDP. He has since rubbished claims that the campaign is only about him saying the naysayers do not understand his approach and strategy.
IT IS REGRETTABLE – MOETI MOHWASA
BNF’s Secretary General and UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa is disappointed that things have turned up this way at the UDC. In his response he said:
“It is unfortunate that a structure within the BNF, which knows processes of the party would want to communicate issues through the press. We are not saying there shouldn’t be different views but it has to be done through proper channels.
The president is not personalising anything, which is why during the UDC NEC meeting of March 5 2019 Boko briefed them about the helicopters. It is regrettable that we find ourselves in this situation and it has since emerged that some of the veterans are not aware of the media statement. We expect the veterans to lead by example having been there before in some of the BNF structures.
On the issue of Khama, he is not a UDC member and remains a BDP member. Our stand is that anyone who wants to help us fight the BDP is welcome to do so. We have worked with other former BDP members; others were even in high positions within the BDP, but they left the party to join us and help us fight the BDP.
NEW AGE POLITICIAN
Botswana Democratic Party’s Parliamentary candidate for Kanye North Constituency Thapelo Letsholo advises his constituents to go for youthful competence, result-oriented representation and shun the outdated and usual political rhetoric.
If elected, his main objective will be to turn Kanye North into a progressive and result-oriented constituency. He will achieve this through unifying all levels of government with the goals of his people. Letsholo brings vast experience in business, retail management, communications and strategy having served corporate entities that have international reach.
He is confident that his professional expertise, particularly in strategy development, brand positioning and corporate reputation management, puts him in a prime position to be entrusted with effectively articulating and interrogating possible solutions to challenges faced by the constituency and the country at large.
Kanye North constituency needs new age representation that is in tune with the needs and aspirations of the current and future Kanye North voter. “That is exactly what I distinctively bring to the constituency. My intention is to consistently and continuously be available to all constituents, predominantly in person through such forums as dikgotla.
“However, across various interactions with the residents of Kanye North, we are in agreement that there is need for more communication platforms that will form additional contact points with the Member of Parliament (MP).“I therefore have an ambition to set up a call centre and develop a mobile application that all, especially the younger generation, can utilise to communicate with their MP and inform him of such areas that need his attention,” he says.
He will interrogate and positively confront all answers given by different ministries, departments and service providers for service lapses and challenges facing the constituency so that there can be increased urgency, vigour and adherence to timelines for service delivery and promised projects in the constituency. Some of these projects include the long standing water problem, Kgomokasitwa/Tshweneyagae Road, a sports stadium, youth unemployment and transforming the main hospital in Kanye into a more efficient and effective health care centre.
Confirming that a challenge exists by civil servants at Kgotla meetings can no longer be accepted as an appropriate and accepted response to the problem. “I am going to continuously and consistently agitate for clearly defined deliverables on how the specific challenges will be overcome as well as strict adherence to the associated timelines,” he says.
Q. You mention some challenges that have long existed. What will set you apart from MPs that came before you?
A. I believe in the philosophy of collective thinking. I don’t wish to present myself as a sole solution provider, and I don’t intend to mislead my constituents by offering and presenting myself as such.
Q. Women representation in political office has been a great challenge. What is your view on this?
A. The issue of women representation in politics in particular is very broad and has less to do with women’s capability but more to do with mistaken societal attitudes towards women’s ability to lead in general. This negative view should be tackled from the boardrooms through to politics. We need to emphasize equal opportunity and ensure gender balance across board. Throughout my tenure in business, I have fully appreciated the tremendous capability of women, to the extent that in most of the businesses I have been associated with, the majority of employees have been women and held leadership positions in the different divisions.
Q. What is your view on corruption and institutions put in place to fight it?
A. Corruption is a sign of a society whose moral values have been eroded over time. Therefore the sustainable solution is to take a long-term view to reverse the current decay.
At policy level, there is need to reconfigure the reporting structure of institutions charged with the responsibility of preventing corruption. There is opportunity for the institutions to report directly to Parliament, with the Heads of those institutions also appointed by a committee of Parliament. Their recruitment ought to be public and transparent, and their credentials, integrity and fitness to hold public office publicly interrogated. Their term of office could also be fixed to a specific period and non-renewable, such that their continued deployment is not at the pleasure of the appointing authority.
Q. There has been a general problem of youth unemployment, how are you prepared to address it?
A. Kanye North has a significant population of young people with big dreams, enormous ambitions and incredible aspirations. I have a real interest in working collaboratively with the youth, through continuous engagement with them and other stakeholders, to make the dreams of our young people a reality.
Moreover, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has committed to enable thousands of jobs mainly targeted at the youth, in the arts, creative and entertainment sector. To bring this to life, we have a strong ambition to work with the private sector to create Botswana’s first Television Production Incubation Centre in Kanye to give our local talent the opportunity to produce content initially for Botswana Television but ultimately for international consumption.
The fully equipped Incubation Centre will provide the necessary equipment, guidance and execution of various concepts proposed by creatives. This concept has not only already been developed for Botswana, but has also already tested in various other countries such as Nigeria and Kenya, resulting in the creation of jobs for the youth
Q. Given your acknowledgement of the magnitude of youth unemployment, as a successful businessman what have you done to alleviate the problem?
A. I am a passionate entrepreneur and a business leader. The companies that I have established permanently employ over 27 young people, mostly below the age of 30. My commitment to enabling and facilitating the development of our exciting and emerging talent is relentless.
Q. Noting that entrepreneurship is an alternative to solving youth unemployment, how do you intend to support those in this pursuit?
A. Given the limited opportunities in Botswana as a relatively small population but abundance of talent and skills, there is need to take a new approach towards starting and growing businesses. There is tremendous wisdom in the adage “moroto wa esi ga o ele” and that “noka e tlatswa ke melatswana”. The youth should embrace merging of different skills and talents as opposed to working in silos in turning gaps identified in the economy into viable business opportunities.
There is greater value in five individuals coming together and setting up a business and reaching out to a client as a service provider, as opposed to five individuals approaching the same client and competing amongst themselves.
Q. Education results have been declining throughout the country, how are you going to address the low pass rates?
A. Rather than teach children so that they can pass exams, the school system should be enabling learners to collaborate with each other, identify their strengths and setting them up for lifelong learning.
This approach will motivate and inspire learners to take ownership of their own learning in a motivated manner and consequently reduce apathy in their studies. In realization of the above, the BDP has also committed to an overhaul and modernization of the school curriculum, to enable us to respond to the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It has further committed to the establishment of a skills fund aimed at retooling our graduates for the current job market.
Boko has failed his constituency – Mokgethi
Botswana Democratic Party Parliamentary hopeful for Gaborone Bonnington North Annah Mokgethi says area Member of Parliament failed to utilise the P10million constituency Development Fund to develop the constituency.
Every year government allocates P10 million to each of the 57 constituencies for developments under the ministry of local government and rural development and councils coordinate the projects. Mokgethi told the media in Gaborone on Tuesday that UDC president who is also area MP, Duma Boko was supposed to have pushed for projects to be done in the constituency.“As we speak there is nothing but the constituency has been having an MP and councillors in the past five years. “Crime is high in the area because there are no streetlights in most of our roads. Our people are attacked under the cover of darkness. Our roads are still dusty but you take our neighbouring constituencies they have paved the roads using these funds.
“We are behind because our MP has neglected the constituency ever since he was voted into office. There is nothing that he can show as a development he advocated for under the fund,” she said.
Mokgethi, a lawyer by profession, will be launched this coming Sunday by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Since its inception in 2017 the fund has been marred by controversy as MPs argued that they are not being taken on board in the projects.Vice President Slumber Tsogwane who at the time was local government minister, said it was wrong for council secretaries to snub MPs when councils consult residents on developments to do with the fund.
Mokgethi told the media that representation is about service. She said she is willing to represent the people of Bonnington North. “The people of this constituency are yearning for representation. They need a representative who will have enough time on his/her hands to attend to their needs and interests. Someone who will have an ear inclined to their needs,” she stated.
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