‘The opposition cannot stand and walk’ says bdp lawyer, Busang Manewe
Power has changed within the ruling party and so has its legal representation which has seen a youthful and exuberant lawyer, Busang Manewe taking over the reins from attorney Parks Tafa whose name was synonymous with the Botswana Democratic Party and its ex-president Ian Khama in the bygone decade, WRITES TEFO PHEAGE.
Lest you forget or wish to turn a blind eye on it, Busang Manewe is an unapologetic staunch member of the Botswana Congress Party and to date he still passionately refers to it as the lime revolution. “I am still a member of the lime revolution in good standing having joined it in 1998 but I decided to take leave from the lime revolution the day the BCP joined UDC. It was a personal decision taken after a thorough self-consultation,” he says.
This is reiterated by the BCP spokesperson, Dithapelo Keorapetse who says Manewe is still their member in good standing whose services they are at liberty to seek at any-time. In fact Keorapetse says that prior to the elections, Manewe was part of the elections committee and legal counsel committee, a statement Manewe vehemently refutes.
More interesting however is that the BDP’s secretary general, Mpho Balopi says they did not know about Manewe’s association with the opposition or that he was a member of the BCP. “We didn’t know about his association with the BCP. In fact we didn’t care because lawyers are professionals and we expected the same from him. What we knew was that his firm was capable and we have been vindicated,” Balopi says. The firm which Manewe co-owns with Basimane Bogopa has been just what the doctor has ordered for the BDP sweeping all the legal troubles besieging the party.
Despite all this, Manewe says he is under no pressure to leave the BCP. Does he intend to join the BDP as Tafa did? It’s a million dollar question, but Manewe says, “nobody has recruited me, so I don’t intend to join the BDP.” This is despite street talk that already, some BDP card carrying lawyers are complaining that the party has given an outsider and opponent a good job.
Asked about whether he still believes the BCP is the alternative to Batswana’s troubles, Manewe says he does not know. “There is no BCP as we speak. But of course I still believe the opposition is an alternative albeit not in its current form. The opposition in its current form cannot stand and walk,” Manewe says.
Hardly a year representing the BDP, Manewe is already setting tongues wagging through his dual association with the two aforementioned parties which are sworn political enemies. In fact he says he has already lost political allies he used to mingle with during his leisure time.
“It is to be expected. It is mostly the people who are clueless about legal representation. I have no qualms with that. I have been removed from BCP WhatsApp groups and continue to suffer more prejudice as a result of my legal association with the BDP but I am at peace,” he says.
Manewe says he is still close with the BCP leadership which he still holds in high esteem. “In all my services to the party I gave my all at no cost to the party. Even when I represented the BCP leader, Dumelang Saleshando I perceived it as a revolutionary duty,” he says further adding that the BCP leadership is aware of his leave from active politics because he informed them.
According to Manewe, life in the opposition ranks is not easy when you are a lawyer.
“It can be an excruciating voyage; it’s always an issue when you associate with the establishment or the people seen in that light. For instance I offended some senior party lawyers sometime back when I represented Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) top brass in the P500 million glass project saga because i was perceived to be defending the people who had stolen from the poor to enrich themselves,” he says before narrating several similar examples. “I bought myself a nice BMW machine around the same time and talk was that it was the glass project money.”
He continues: “This is painful; if I can give you a list of people benefiting from government legal work you will be shocked because some are UDC lawyers. But I am not complaining, it is the nature of our job.”
The Manewe saga is not new to the political scene having been witnessed recently when UDC leader Duma Boko vowed to represent Ian Khama and Isaac Kgosi against the state’s ‘harassment’. His move divided his movement and set it on fire with many arguing that while it may be legally permissible it demonstrated political immaturity. It was not only Boko, Sidney Pilane before Boko had written a lengthy article in an attempt to defend himself against the same barrage of attacks following his decision to advice and represent Isaac Kgosi. At the time, Pilane said he, as a lawyer will always give an ear to and assist anybody who comes to him seeking legal representation without considering anything outside what they are bringing on the table.