FRANCISTOWN: The assistant minister of Health and Wellness, Biggie Butale believes that presiding officers played a significant role in his high profile loss at the ruling party primaries in Tati West last month.
Just like a higher fraction of some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members who lost the primaries, Butale’s political future hinges on his ability to successfully convince his party to order a re-run in his constituency.
The assistant minister’s protest letter mostly contains the rhetoric usually raised by losers, but he appears to boost his arguments by strongly highlighting that there were coordinated efforts from presiding officers to make sure that he emerged the loser in the end. Butale who is the incumbent area Member of Parliament (MP) lost the BDP primaries to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s blue-eyed boy, Simon Moabi who is the party’s National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) chairperson. Most council candidates with connections to Moabi emerged victorious.
In his protest routed to the party central committee recently, Butale suggested that his marginal loss signifies the ruling party’s organisational weaknesses in terms of running the party primaries. The letter also insinuates that rigging at the BDP primaries was blunt than thought. “For example, an elderly woman walked into Masunga voting room and asked the presiding officer to write Mr Zwinila.
“The officer wrote Bose Sethupa and the old woman remonstrated with the officer. “And likewise, an old woman asked the presiding officer to write Butale on her ballot paper, but Moabi Mavange was written instead,” Butale said in his protest letter. The legislator added that some presiding officers used blue markers to write on papers. He said that writing on ballot papers was done for two reasons. He highlighted that all marked papers meant that they were rigged and beneficiaries could easily identify them.
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“This means that all other candidates without fail did not get one vote from all voters who could not write.
The statistics do not need an expert to decipher that there was vote rigging,” he said, adding that it is impossible that in Kalakamati, Mosojane and Makaleng all those who could not write voted for one particular team of candidates.
“The way it was done was such that all the voters who could not write were given a candidate of the presiding officer’s choice.” In his 12-page protest letter, Butale also alleged that his opponents piled the presiding officers with alcohol so that they influence the outcomes of the elections in favour of his opponents.
“One of the presiding officers was even given a bottle of whiskey and P100 for a job well done. This was done by one of the candidates in Gulubane,” he said. Yesterday, the legislator said that he could not share or discuss anything in relation to a letter he wrote to the party. He cited confidentiality reasons for not discussing the document. The verdict on Butale’s case is expected soon.