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Masisi brokers peace in Majaga, Ookeditse feud

Publishing Date : 16 January, 2018


Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi has intervened in a political feud involving Nata/Gweta legislator Polson Majaga and Policy Specialist at Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYESCD), Lawrence Ookeditse, and in the process called on Minister Thapelo Olopeng to reprimand his employee.

The Vice President is reportedly worried that the political battle between the two, which has dragged on for some time now will tarnish the party’s image. Majaga has raised the issue in parliament before, asking principals at the Ministry of Youth to step in but his plea at the time fell on deaf ears.  However, Assistant Minister Kefentse Mzwinila denied that Ookeditse was in any way involved in politics, highlighting that the policy specialist was hired on contract basis.

The Public Service Act of 2008 prohibits public servants from being active in politics. By being active in any manner in politics, Ookeditse may be seen to be canvassing support for the primary elections. It appears Majaga was hell-bent on airing his displeasure and getting his side of the story heard as he reportedly raised the issue at the BDP caucus on Tuesday this week. Majaga is said to have indirectly asked Olopeng to “engage his employee” to desist from engaging in political activities.

Olopeng is said not to have taken the comments in jest as he believed Majaga was passing a remark and pleaded with Masisi to intervene on the matter as he was unaware of the matter. However, Masisi, it is said, was concerned that the said employee was being given special treatment, and instead asked Olopeng to reprimand him (Ookeditse) as it can tarnish the party image. Masisi is said to have also remarked that Ookeditse was drawing unnecessary attention to the party as he was trampling on the Public Service Act.

“We read, we hear, and we see what is happening and we can tell what will happen or what is happening, so you need to talk about it because it will not serve as any-good,” Masisi reportedly said in a three man meeting. WeekendPost sought to establish if Olopeng had responded to the call for him to engage Ookeditse or how he had responded, at the time of going to print.

Although Majaga was pleased with the response he is said to have been equally surprised by Masisi’s words as Ookeditse is allegedly among the Young Turks the Vice President has been grooming to be his cabinet’s fast wheels. “Masisi is a leader and he has to be as neutral as ever, so that statement could mean nothing. We know that he wants Ookeditse in his cabinet post 2019 so Majaga should seriously work his constituency and not be blind-fooled by that remark,” a source from the meeting said.

Majaga is said to have told the party meeting this week that the party should allow all public servants wishing to contest to do so or block them altogether to avoid favouritism. The incumbent MP believes that Ookeditse could be using his position at the ministry of youth to campaign in his constituency which is poverty stricken and has high illiteracy levels. Since last year Ookeditse has been traversing the breath of the constituency, specifically visiting youth owned businesses. This according to Majaga was not genuine but rather a cosmetics approach to appeal to the constituents. 

The constituency so far has seven candidates vying for the MP seat at next year’s primary elections. The alleged aspirants include former (2014) Botswana Congress Party (BCP) parliamentary candidate, Ditiro Majadibodu; former MP Oliphant Mfa; Nata East councillor Mbanga Mbanga; and regional education director, Mabonga Gadibolae. The outspoken Majaga won the constituency in 2014 after garnering 3,424 votes.

Majaga has been one of the few bold-hearted BDP MP’s at parliament coming up with motions including one for provision of free sanitary pads for students and direct election of the president among others. Most of his motions will be debated in the next session.



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