The recently concluded 11th session of Parliament marked an end of political careers for some Members of Parliament due to losses in primary elections while others opted for retirement. The exodus, particularly by MPs from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), is spurred by loss of Bulela Ditswe primary elections, paving the way for new faces.
STAFF WRITER BAKANG TIRO takes a glance at the retiring legislators and wishes them well in their future endeavours.
Edwin Batshu (Nkange)
The former Police Commissioner’s retirement marks the end of his two terms as the MP for Nkange, the constituency he won back to back in 2009 and 2014 general elections. Batshu joined politics upon retirement from the police as a commissioner and has served as a Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, and a Minister of Labour and Home Affairs. The outgoing Nkange legislator was dropped from cabinet by President Mokgweetsi Masisi upon ascending the presidency in April 2018, joining the back bench.
He was dropped alongside Prince Maele who was the minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services and Lobatse MP Sadique Kebonang who was minister of Minerals and Energy. In parliament, Batshu has been vocal on the escalating human-wildlife conflicts which also affect his constituency. He was supported by other MPs among them Paulsen Majaga who complained about the same problem in his Nata/ Gweta constituency.
During his tenure, Batshu as the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, turned out to be number one nemesis to the members of Enlightened Christian Church (ECG) of South African based Malawian pastor, Prophet Sheperd Bushiri.
The battle between Batshu and ECG members in Botswana started when government denied Major One as Bushiri is popularly known permission to enter the country, by placing him on VISA restrictions.
Botlogile Tshireletso (Mahalapye East)
Mahalapye East Member of Parliament stands out to be one of the decorated veteran women politicians in Botswana such as stalwarts Dr Gaositwe Chiepe and Dr Pelonomi Venson Moitoi. Tshireletso’s long 40 years political career in Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) comes to an end with a rich history behind the outspoken MP’s name having spent 25 years as a Councillor.
She served the party with loyalty, a move that earned her positions in both cabinet and BDP structures as she is currently the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development. Tshireletso, a legislator who is passionate about matters affecting women and the girl child, never shied away from speaking her mind with a loud voice against Gender Based Violence (GBV). The Mahalapye East legislator’s passion for speaking for women was also felt when she spoke for the legalization of prostitution and abortion, getting heavy criticism from the Christian community. Mma Tshire as she is affectionaly known has been in parliament for three terms since 2004.
Kgosi Tawana Moremi II (Maun West)
Currently Maun West legislator, Kgosi Tawana Moremi II adds to the list of paramount chiefs who successfully contested and won the seat in parliament mostly under the opposition banner. The maverick MP ditched the ruling BDP ahead of 2014 elections in favour of opposition.
Batawana Kgosikgolo won 2014 elections under Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) through the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), who have since been expelled from the coalition. He announced retirement from active politics in 2017 and resigned from the UDC. Tawana spoke firmly on the matters affecting Bogosi institution as in most instances took a jab to government arguing that it has been neglecting and compromising the welfare of dikgosi.
Moreover, he did not mince words when he expressed his frustrations over what he terms the white takeover of lucrative tourism opportunities in Ngamiland and challenged government to stop whites dominance. Recently in parliament he was one of the vocal MPs during the debates of Duty Transfer Bill when MPs called for foreigners to be denied land ownership as the locals dont have to land.
Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi (Serowe South)
Serowe South outgoing MP is one of the longest serving BDP members prior to her retirement. She surprised many inside and outside BDP when she announced last December that she had decided to challenge President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency. Soon thereafter she was dropped from cabinet by Masisi. She would later pull out of the race at the 11th hour in Kang, just before elections got underway at the BDP congress after losing a proitracted legal battle trying to interdict the proceedings.
Moitoi has served in different ministerial portfolios such as of Trade, Investment , as Minister of Works, Transport and Communications from 2001 to 2002 and Minister of Trade, Industry, Wildlife and Tourism from 2002 to 2004. She was appointed as the Minister of Communications, Science, and Technology in 2004. In the 2009 cabinet, she was appointed Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, and later she was appointed as Minister of Education before serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation from 2014 to December 2018.
Moitoi first came to parliament in 1999 as specially elected member before winning 2004, 2009 and 2014 general elections respectively hence spending a total of four terms as a legislator.
Kgosi Lotlamoreng II (Good hope/Mabule)
Barolong Paramount Chief Kgosi Lotlamoreng II entered politics in 2015 contesting for Good Hope-Mabule constituency by-election following the resignation of MP James Mathokgwane. Contesting under UDC banner, Lotlamoreng defeated Eric Molale of BDP by garnering 6152 votes against Molale’ 4372. He will not be contesting the 2019 elections and has been replaced by Dr Patrick Molutsi who will face Eric Molale. His perfomance in parliament has been below par.