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Bulela Ditswe’s Messy Affair

Keletso Rakhudu
SEROWE: Frustrated losing former assistant minister and Gaborone North MP, Keletso Rakhudu has described the weekend’s Bulela Ditswe primaries in Serowe West as akin to the derogatory messy affair known aptly as ‘kwa ga mma pereko’.

“Otherwise, the situation in our Bulela Ditswe, messed as it is with so many issues to deal with, O kare re kwa ga mma pereko (It’s like a messy affair),” Rakhudu had described to a quiet hall, one could have heard a feather hit the floor.

Realising that he may have used a derogatory word to describe his party and its system, he apologised in the wee hours of Sunday, when the damage was already done.

“I am sorry to have used this mma pereko example because those who are familiar with it will know how messy the situation could be, to be associated with mma pereko,” he declared after the fact.

Rakhudu and another candidate, Moemedi Dijeng had just lost a bid to topple incumbent Serowe West MP Tshekedi Khama who had won emphatically by garnering 2,797 votes to 1,594 and 462 votes by Dijeng and Rakhudu respectively. Khama’s winning margin stands at 1,203 votes.

Rakhudu was given a chance to speak about the conduct of the weekend primaries in Serowe West and whether he accepted the results or not, which he outright did not.

He stated how he tried so hard to stick to the Bulela Ditswe rules and regulations, but was disappointed to witness some people breaking the rules with impunity. He did not hide that here he was referring to MP Khama.

Khama is accused to have openly campaigned at freedom squares and doled out blankets just on the eve of the primaries, which he described as a transgression of the party primaries’ rules and regulations.

As an experienced politician, Rakhudu warned the party that time that it now levelled the playing field in primaries fearing that if not, “this might result in BDP members scattering ahead of the 2019 general elections”.

He took his few minutes to articulate his case in a manner that those who were at the counting centre at the Lady Khama Hall in the heart of Serowe, were able to understand the source of his frustration.

Anger, frustration and despair were literally written all over his face as he vented his concerns to the returning officer, Dux Mafoko, who hails from Moshupa. He incessantly gesticulated by throwing his hands into the air perhaps to drive his points home.

In his view, “the mistakes in the voters’ roll really nullify the primaries’ results”.

His case became even more complicated when he accused the BDP to have failed him because, “I am the only candidate in the constituency who failed to vote for himself because my name did not even appear in the voters’ roll”.

He related how painful it was for him to solicit for votes at the primaries as people knew that he was not listed in the voters’ roll, which to him left doubts in the minds of many about his credibility as a candidate.

He would then fire salvos at the branch committee, which he said was, “far from being impartial. With my name missing from the voters roll despite that I duly registered for the

new life membership on 10th April, 2018, it had really damaged my credibility as a candidate”.

The other worrying scenario that Rakhudu presented related to the fact that the social media was awash with reports that he had bowed out of the parliamentary race. He also blamed his party for failing to stand with him when he was seized with such negative publicity.

In fact, Dijeng who on the eve of the primaries brushed aside an attempt by Khama to disbar him from contesting the primaries through a court injunction was the first to pour scorn on the Khama victory.

He explained to the returning officer, Mafoko that at a party meeting called by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in Palapye to discuss the problems associated with the party voters’ rolls, there was a promise that the disputed and ‘hacked’ voters’ rolls will be duly corrected.

“Masisi had promised us that three days after the corrections, all would be well with the voters’ rolls. By Wednesday last week, we expected to receive corrected voters’ rolls, but to our disappointment there are many people who are currently holding proof of registration but their names are nowhere,” he narrated his story.

The motive here is that Masisi wants to see every registered party member exercising his/her democratic right to choose a leader of his/her choice.

“Now, with the case that we are seized with here, I will be lying to you that the results reflect a smooth process as expected as a good number of people were denied a chance to vote.” He did not accept the results.

He accused the winner, Khama, to have flagrantly contravened Bulela Ditswe rules and regulations with impunity to the extent that he addressed freedom square meetings openly in his campaigns.

He claimed that his team has video evidence gathered from the three wards at Kgosing, Palamaokuwe and Serokolwane, which he finds unfair and contrary to established norms.

He further accused Khama to have abused his incumbency to the extent that he claimed to be addressing Kgotla meetings in his last minute addresses, whereat; he literally solicited for votes to the extent that he (Tshekedi) and his elder brother and former president Ian Khama, whom he addressed as ‘our paramount chief’, doled out blankets.

As for his part, the returning officer, Mafoko was elated that the primaries he was assigned to conduct went well, acknowledging that he has heard the losers sharing their concerns on the eve of the primaries that there were irregularities and unfair play in the conduct of Khama in particular, as a candidate.

“I was only given the voters’ rolls and as to whether some people were registered and others missing, it was not my mandate at all. My responsibility was to cause those listed to partake in the process of primaries”.

He referred all other issues to the party leadership as he was only answerable to matters relating to the conduct of the primaries as otherwise, he might find himself usurping powers that he does not have.




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