Hypocrisy of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership reared its ugly head in a case that the Serowe West MP Tshekedi Khama is suing the party. It is common cause that when the branch committee vetted out their MP for abandoning the constituency, the central committee overruled them, Staff Writer TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE reports
The BDP secretary general, Mpho Balopi has indicated in his affidavit that the branch committee says Khama had not bothered addressing his electorate after being elected or appraise them on the issues that are being discussed in Parliament.
Balopi says Khama had not visited the constituency not even once to thank the electorate since he was elected but they used their discretion as Central Committee to approve Khama’s candidacy so that members of Serowe West constituency would elect a candidate of their choice. He emphasised that the reasons given by the branch committee were quite weighty.
Even though the BDP somehow agrees with the branch committee’s reasons, Mmegi has learnt that the branch committee has never reported such issues to the region.
“As the region committee, we do not interfere with the roles of the branch committee especially on issues of vetting. But normally when the branch has a complaint against its MP or a councillor especially when it affects the constituents they normally communicate. We only learnt this issue like any other democrat in the media,” said a committee member on condition of anonymity.
Another resident of the constituency who did not want to be named said the branch committee was economic with the truth when it said Khama never addressed meetings in the constituency. It has turned out that he has addressed Kgotla meetings in areas such as Rakgomo, Makolojwane, Marulamantsi amongst others and these meetings were extensively covered by the public media.
Khama’s alleged neglect of the constituency may be due to the fact that he never fought hard to gain the vote, says a political analyst, Leonard Sesa. Sesa said the problem is that Khama adopted the constituency from his elder brother, former president Ian Khama and had not worked hard to win elections on it.
“He was given the constituency on a sliver platter and by then he was not a politician. They had never taught him that he would be forced to love people, mingle with them and address them on issues that are being discussed at Parliament. He took everything for granted, something that is hitting back on him. He should also accept that the dynamics have changed,” argued Sesa. Sesa found the
He said they have set a precedence that they might not maintain going forward because other people would also want favours from the Central Committee when vetted out by the branch committee.
The University of Botswana political analyst, however, noted that the BDP might have observed that vetting out Khama could lead to the party losing the constituency and therefore they wanted them to all go for primaries.
“The issue to vet out someone on the basis that he is not checking the constituency does not hold water because there do not have any instrument that they are using to assess performance of MPs or councillors. Again other people could make stories for one to be disqualified. If they are going to check performance of MPs basing on that then they will vet out lot of MPs,” he said.
Another political analyst Anthony Morima said it was shocking for the Central Committee to overrule the decision of the branch and at the same time they agree with it publicly.
“If they felt that Khama contravened one of their clauses then they could have supported what the branch committee said. What action did they take before the primaries if those issues have been there? Now it’s like they are taking sides on their candidates and they want to silence another one by saying we had made you a favour,” Morima said.
He shared the same sentiments with Sesa that may be they felt that they might lose the constituency if they vet out Khama rather is best if the democrats make their own choices.
On the other hand Balopi said the branch committee had not brought any complaint letter to them regarding Khama but they could have complained to their regional committee.
“We learnt about this issue when we were dealing with issues of people who are vetted out. BDP has a clear principle that MPs and councillors should account to their electorates by updating them about what is happening in Parliament and knowing challenges and attending events at the constituency,” Balopi said.