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Recapping Botswana’s turbulent Political landscape in 2023

Kabelo Dipholo
2023 Political highlights

The year 2023 will be etched as one of the most eventful in Botswana’s political narrative, marked by several key events that shaped the country’s political trajectory.

From internal party disputes to alliances and unexpected theatrics, here are the highlights from the tumultuous year:

Masisi Family Tender Disputes

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s nephew, Joseph Pilane, and his aunt, Boitumelo Phadi Mmutle (President’s sister), engaged in a fierce tussle over a multimillion-pula tender.

The controversy shed light on the intricate dynamics of tendering, political influence, and familial relationships.

Pilane alleged being edged out of the P550 million Goodhope water project, raising concerns about political ties influencing major government contracts.

Allegations surfaced of a demand for a 5% cut from the tender, leading to friction with DIS Director General, Peter Magosi.

The saga also revealed donations made to the ruling BDP and rental payments received by Mmutle from Huashi Li, the project contractor.

The BPF Factional Struggle

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A contentious power struggle within the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) ensued, with deposed party leader, Biggie Butale, supported by figures like Master Goya and James Kgalajwe, attempting to wrest control from Ian Khama’s influence.

Counteracting them were Mephato Reatile, Carter Morupisi, and associates, leading to clashes that bruised Butale’s image.

Amidst the turmoil, competing claims to the party presidency persisted, causing confusion and an unresolved leadership question within the BPF.

Phandu Skelemani’s Return to Parliament

Speaker Phandu Skelemani’s return to Parliament post an illness was marked by his resilient stance despite physical challenges.

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Skelemani, having lost a leg due to health complications, declared his intention to continue fulfilling his duties as Speaker.

His decision faced criticism and sparked debates, yet his resolve to carry on remained steadfast, with many acknowledging his contributions in parliamentary discussions.

BDP-BCP Collaboration

The unexpected collaboration between the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) emerged following the dissolution of their ties with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The BCP leveraged its association with the BDP to dislodge the UDC in various districts, effectively securing leadership changes in several councils.

The alliance’s success in unseating UDC leadership raises questions about its sustainability and potential implications for future political strategies.

PPP’s Dramatics: Pono Moathodi’s Narrative

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Deputy National Speaker, Pono Moathodi, showcased his storytelling prowess with a vivid account of his neighbour’s valiant defence against assailants.

Despite being rendered unconscious during the incident, Moathodi captivated the nation with his detailed description of the episode involving his neighbour’s heroic resistance against robbers.

Police investigations into this one-sided altercation are ongoing.

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Madibelathopho and Their Impact

A vocal and assertive faction within the UDC, led by Duma Boko, stirred controversy and apprehension across various sectors.

Their bold demands, particularly to oversee voter registration, sparked widespread discussions.

The group’s confrontational approach has made stakeholders uneasy, raising questions about their role in the political landscape – whether they are a legitimate force or a disruptive element.

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