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Three Ministers to retire from active politics

Publishing Date : 11 February, 2016

Author : JASON RANTHATSA

Labour and Home Affairs minister, Edwin Batshu

Fresh information reaching Weekend Post suggests that three serving ministers will not be seeking re-election in 2019. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Labour and Home Affairs minister, Edwin Batshu and Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso are all set to retire from active politics in three years time.

This publication understands that the trio are retiring from active politics solely due to old age. All the Ministers are in their 60’s. In an interview this week, Tshireletso said she will issue an official statement on her retirement at the right time.

“I have to inform the President first because he has entrusted me with the Ministry of local development. Thereafter, I will hold a series of kgotla meetings in my constituency (Mahalapye East) to bid my constituents farewell. I will shed more light on the issue as the time goes on because I haven’t even discussed it with my family and the party,” she told this publication.

Tshireletso was first elected to Parliament in 2004 after serving for close to 20 years as a councillor.

Venson-Moitoi was cagey with details regarding her retirement from politics. “I am not in a position to comment further on my retirement. Maybe those who told you have more information than me,” she remarked. Venson-Moitoi joined active politics in 1999 when the then President, Festus Mogae appointed her as one of the four specially elected Members of Parliament. In 2004, she was elected as Serowe South MP, the position she still holds today. In addition, she has held various cabinet portfolios in Works, Transport and Communications, Trade and Industry, Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Science and Technology as well as Education and Skills Development.

Edwin Batshu’s mobile phone rang unanswered despite numerous attempts by this publication.

The former commissioner of Botswana Police joined active politics in 2008. He was elected Member of Parliament for Nkange in 2009, a position he still holds today. He has been serving as Minister of Labour and Home Affairs since 2011.

A highly placed source within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) told this publication that the party is already identifying possible replacements for the three Ministers. At Serowe South, it is believed that former Botswana ambassador to United States, Tebelelo Seretse will succeed Venson-Moitoi should she win both the BDP primary elections to be held in 2018 and the 2019 general elections. Seretse once served as the MP for the constituency from 1999 until 2004.

At Nkange constituency, the BDP is said to be working at the speed of light to counter the growing numbers of Botswana Congress Party (BCP). Electoral results indicate that the BCP has grown significantly in the area over the years. In the last general elections, Batshu won by a slight margin of 600 over BCP’s Dr. Never Tshabang. The party has also noted the concern raised by the constituents that most of the legislators were not from Tutume, which is the major village in the constituency. Batshu hails from Maitengwe while his predecessor, Ambrose Masalila was from Nswazwi.

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