Self-exiled councillor denies defection allegations

Oarabile Motlaleng
Oarabile Motlaleng

Self-exiled Naledi North councillor, Oarabile Motlaleng has denied that he may defect to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

According to his lawyer, Martin Dingake, Motlaleng remains a committed member of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).

“He is aware of insinuations that he may defect. That is far from the truth. He has, and in confidence to his other comrades, expressed different views on party organisation. Those were private discussions held in confidence and they remain as such,” said Dingake.

Talk of Motlaleng defecting to the ruling party followed an audiotape exposing conspiratorial discussions between suspended BCP members and BDP seniors. In the widely circulating audiotape, Thato Osupile, the former BCP youth league secretary general who resigned two weeks ago following his suspension, claimed to have contacted Motlaleng on the possibilities of him ditching the BCP for the ruling party.

Motlaleng is believed to be in the United Kingdom where he reportedly fled, following threats to his life.  “Motlaleng said he did not have a problem with leaving the BCP because he was disillusioned by the leadership. There are so many things he (Motlaleng) has been questioning all along, many times (sic). He is a free spirit. He is willing to defect,” Osupile is heard saying in the audiotape.

Dingake explained that as previously indicated, Motlaleng is outside the country to seek medical attention and review his security following allegations of threat to his life.

“The specific location of where exactly he is remains a guarded secret for the very reasons that led to his threat to life,” he said.

With only one council seating session left before the Naledi North ward seat is considered vacant, questions abound as to whether Motlaleng will resurface or not.

Dingake however insisted that declaring Motlaleng’s seat vacant would be a long process. “There are processes that can lead to the Council seat being declared vacant. We are not aware if such processes are currently in motion and we have not been advised so. As far as we are concerned the time frame within which the seat may be declared vacant is far off,” he said.

Dingake further said that Motlaleng’s council ward has been fully appraised of his circumstances.

“Honourable councillor Motlaleng remains committed to the ideals of his candidacy. He remains ever prepared to serve his people. He also values their vote and shall not forsake them. As far as his medical condition is concerned, his doctors have informed him that he is making tremendous progress and it will not be long before he is permitted to take his medication back home,” he said.

Dingake added that Motlaleng is elated by his medical improvement and remains hopeful that he will return to Botswana soon.  “He is eager to return to his motherland to serve the people of his ward and his beloved party. Should he feel so strongly and positive about serving his people as he now seems to, he may decide to return home irrespective of the circumstances he may be in and he is prepared to meet his fate if that is the only way to prove his commitment to his constituents,” he said.

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