'We were subjected to mob justice'

Dithapelo Keorapetse, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Dithapelo Keorapetse, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

As they consider reconciliation among other options, the five expelled Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Members of Parliament (MPs) say they were subjected to mob justice rather than a fair disciplinary hearing.

When addressing the media this morning, the quintet revealed that they were never charged by their party after receiving suspension letters. The five MPs are the new Leader of Opposition (LoO) Dithapelo Keorapetse, Never Tshabang, David Tshere, Kenny Kapinga and Onneetse Ramogapi. The BCP national conference last week took a resolution to expel the legislators from the BCP few days after they were served with suspension letters.

Keorapetse told the media that the reasons for their suspension were not stated in the letters and they were shocked to hear on social media that the conference had taken a decision to expel them. He said since they were not charged they still wonder whether the UDC caucus which removed BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando was the main cause of their expulsion. He said what happened at the conference was equal to mob justice. He added that they have been labelled as rebels for believing in the project which is the UDC.

“The reason why we have been expelled from the BCP is that we were against the party exit from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). It was unfortunate that the issue played itself out in Bophirima ward by-election where the BCP challenged the UDC. Our fall out with Saleshando started when he started attacking the UDC publicly when there are proper channels to address issues within the UDC. After his suspension we even asked him to resign from his seat as opposition leader in Parliament but he rejected that plea,” Keorapetse said.

For his part, Tshabang said as expelled MPs they believe that reconciliation could still work with their former party provided it still wants to be part of the UDC. He added that as expelled legislators they will keep their status as UDC MPs because there is a clause in the UDC constitution that allows them to contest for positions as UDC members. Even though the UDC and Botswana National Front (BNF) president Duma Boko recently praised the quintet as 'soldiers who suffered for the cause', Tshabang clarified that they have no intention to join the BNF or form any party. Currently, the five MPs have not yet found any new political home.

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