The elections petitions which have been filed by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) before the Court of Appeal after being dismissed by the lower court will have bearing on the democratic credentials of Botswana.
The CoA is expected to listen to the petitions on the 29th of January 2020. The case has attracted a lot of interest especially the international media. The outcome of the case will shape the political agenda of this country from now going into the future. It will also have an impact on the country’s electoral process which some political pundits are adamant that it is not independent.
Already there are indications that the UDC and their political ally Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will not accept the dismissal of the petitions as they feel that there has been massive election rigging.
BPF Patron who is also the former President of Botswana Ian Khama has already appealed to the international community especially the British and South African governments saying the Botswana is being ruled by an illegitimate government.
Two interesting cases that will also shape both the political and judicial system of the country will be that involving former Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General Isaac Kgosi and suspended spy agent Wilhelmina Maswabi code named ‘Butterfly’.
The country will be waiting with baited breath to see if the state with charge the duo with terrorism in which it is alleged that Maswabi financially aided Kgosi to sponsor terrorism.
Last year state prosecutors appeared to be fumbling to pin down charges against the two. Kgosi is accused of taking photographs of two DIS agents as well as their identity cards and sharing with the media. He is also accused of verbally assaulting them.
Maswabi who is also on bail is accused of being found with $ 390 million in her nine personal global accounts which was allegedly used to finance terrorism.
There is political theory that the cases were politically motivated to try and win sympathy for President Mokgweetsi Masisi ahead of the 2019 elections.
Former President Khama and South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe Radebe have also been fingered in the Maswabi case. Khama has also written an affidavit in support of Maswabi saying the allegations were false and fictitious.
The year 2020 will prove whether this was a political witch-hunt for Former President Khama or there is substance in the accusations.
Any outcome will set a political agenda for this country in the coming months and probably beyond 2020.
Khama vs State
Towards the end of 2019, former President Khama vowed to expose government over allegations that during his tenure he embezzled state funds into foreign accounts.
He announced that he has assembled a team of investigators to look at the matter and will be led by British barrister Cherie Blair’s Omnia Strategy firm. He said, the legal team would sue and push criminal charges against the individuals involved
“The amounts claimed for redress will not be small amounts, but the unfortunate thing here is that public funds will be used,” he said.
The case will draw attention of the international community especially the West who still view Khama as one of the few African statesman who governed well and stepped down when his term elapsed.
The feud might tarnish Botswana’s image especially investors who might think that the country has become another ‘African State’ which prosecute its former leaders.
Khama is on record saying president Masisi is behind his persecutions.
“Masisi told two people he is going to fix me. How am I going to be fixed? How do you fix somebody?” he said.
BDP Elective Congresses
This is one congress that will be a litmus test for the leadership capabilities of President Masisi as party leader. It will show if he is a unifier or a splinter.
Many democrats are furious like a wounded buffalo on how they were treated pre and post the 2019 elections and have vowed to reclaim the party.
The part will hold elections for the Youth and Women’s Wing before heading for the Central Committee elections.
Already some former cabinet ministers together with some who passionately campaigned for the party but were sidelined when some were rewarded with political positions are already regrouping for the congresses.
The congresses have the potential to unite or split the party or lead to the formation of strong factions which might make it difficult for Masisi to control the party.
The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) contracting partners will be having their elective congress this year which among others will discuss the merger of all parties.
This will be a hotly debated issue especially at Botswana National Front (BNF) where some are not comfortable in dismantling the party. The BNF didn’t do well individually in the elections by only getting four MPs. Some within the party are calling for the resignation of the party president Duma Boko whom they accuse of neglecting the party. Any decision taken at the congress will have an impact on the UDC.
The BCP will be going to their congress jumping up and down as they performed exceptional well in the 2019 elections garnering 11 MPs, making it the biggest party within the coalition.
The party is said to be highly in support of the merger of all the political parties thus having only UDC.
The decisions of the two major partners within the UDC will shape the political landscape of the country going towards 2024 elections.