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Trouble looms for BDP

After the sucker punch delivered by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) central committee (CC) on Wednesday summarily dismissing almost all Bulela Ditswe appeals, there are mumblings that some notable names may be considering the court route.

One of the leading BDP CC members told Mmegi that there are fears that some of the 130 appellants that were dismissed might seek redress at the High Court or stand as mekoko [independent candidates].

“Of course, there are a lot of unhappy people out there. Some are threatening court action while others are going to be mekoko,” he said.

He conceded that the rejected appeals have the potential to destabilise the party.

After deliberating on the party’s Appeals Board, the committee ruled that only Kgalagadi North and Bobirwa constituencies had legitimate appeals.  That means assistant minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Itumeleng Moipisi and Defence, Justice and Security minister Shaw Kgathi will have a second bite of the cherry.

Kgathi had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Francisco Kgoboko who garnered 4,865 against his challenger’s 2,593.

 Kgathi premised his appeal on the fact that Botswana Congress Party (BCP) members voted Kgoboko and that former president, Ian Khama had de-campaigned him prior to the Bulela Ditswe elections.  Moipisi had garnered 1,696 votes against Talita Monnakgotla’s 2,139.

Cabinet Ministers who were unlucky with their appeals include Nonofo Molefhi, Ngaka Ngaka, Vincent Seretse, Patrick Ralotsia, Kefentse Mzwinila and assistant minister Biggie Butale. 

The BDP CC source said most of the appeals were unmerited as they were driven by emotion.  “But then again why order reruns at Bobirwa and Kgalagadi North constituencies only, and some wards at Takatokwane and Tati West constituencies?”

“For instance, Molefhi appealed that the BCP voted for his challenger, Amogelang Mojuta and he was dismissed. I don’t think Kgathi and Moipisi cases were stronger than many others thrown out. It is difficult to tell if this candidate has a legitimate case against that candidate because

the problems tend to be commonplace,” the source explained.

About the controversial battle for the soul of Lentsweletau-Mmopane constituency, which the incumbent Member of Parliament wanted CC to overturn an Electoral Board decision that ordered the rerun, the source said Seretse slept on his rights. “Seretse agreed to participate in the fraudulent rerun after being declared a winner. He should have interdicted the rerun”.

Seretse initially won the August 25 by-election, defeating his closest rival, Nnaniki Makwinja, by a 45-vote margin.

Contacted for comment this week, Seretse said "I have been informed about the decision of the Central Committee. It's the end. The BDP Constitution states that the Central Committee decision is final. As a member of the party in good standing I have accepted the outcome. BDP comes first, I am only a loyal functionary and I have to work hard to ensure that we remain in power in 2019."

The Electoral Board ordered a rerun citing numerous alleged irregularities and Seretse consequently lost to Makwinja by 930 votes. In his letter to the CC, he had threatened court action if his concerns were not addressed.

However, Seretse said this week that he has been informed about the outcome of his protest. “It’s the end. Under the BDP constitution the CC decision is final. As a member of the party in good standing, I have accepted the outcome. BDP comes first. I am only loyal functionary and I have to work hard that we remain in power come 2019,” Seretse said.

Butale briefly said he was still to consult his constituents. Efforts to reach Ngaka, Ralotsia, Mzwinila and Molefhi were futile at the time of going to press.

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