It looks like the Botswana Patriotic Front will, at least for the foreseeable future continue to slowly chip at the membership of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. There are undercurrents pointing to the fact that Lawrence Ookeditse who has been a staunch activist of the BDP is set to leave that party and reunite with former president Ian Khama at the Botswana Patriotic Front.
Khama is the patron of the BPF. For some time now signs of a pattern have been emerging pointing at the fact that Ookeditse was unhappy with some key events in his party. Contacted by Sunday standard Ookeditse has denied all insinuations that he is about to leave the BDP. But his closest friends have confirmed that he will eventually leave. “He has made up his mind. He has literally turned his back against the BDP. He feels really hard-done. For somebody so loyal and so capable he has been badly treated. He is right to feel hard-done,” said one of his closest friends.
Another one also corroborated that narrative. “Look at the quality of cabinet. Look at the quality of Specially Elected MPs. There is consensus that Lawrence [Ookeditse] deserved a role to play. But then there are whispers of this government favouring people from the south. He is from the north,” said another. They both spoke on condition of anonymity.
For a person who was at the nucleus of the current president’s inner circle Ookeditse has of late been subliminally ranting against the direction the party and government are taking. Ookeditse recently wrote an opinion piece in the media arguing that Ian Khama was never a dictator. That is at odds with the BDP messaging that has argued consistently that Khama was during his time a unilateralist dictator. Ookeditse was the brains behind President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s campaigns.
He worked closely with such people like Samson Moyo Guma, Monametse Kalayamotho and also the late Roseline Pansira. Moyo Guma has since joined BPF. When he died only recently, Pansira was the Secretary General of the BPF. She had left the BDP frustrated and feeling betrayed. Kalayamotho is still in the BDP, but is no longer a president’s darling. Ookeditse was earlier earmarked to become the president’s spokesperson, but was overlooked in favour of the current holder of the office, Batlhalefi Leagajang who also had played a role in the party communications committee.
A formidable intellectual, Ookeditse has also rejoined the University of Botswana where he was previously an academic before he went to launch campaign at his home village in Nata/Gweta. He subsequently lost primary elections to Polson Majaga who stands suspended from the BDP as he is currently fighting defilement charges in court.