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BDP MPs prepare to fight in court

Publishing Date : 12 November, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

An unknown but sizeable number of the 27 Member of Parliament (MPs) who appealed the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) primary elections results are threatening acting outside the party’s confinement by seeking redress in court should the party leadership insist on ruling against re-runs, Weekendpost has been told. 


The party Central Committee is reportedly entertaining the idea of ruling against granting re-runs as it might hamper party’s preparations for the 2019 general elections. “There is a very high likelihood of not holding re-runs no matter the merits of an individual case. Should we, it would affect the whole 2019 campaign and as you know; whoever loses become a party enemy,” a source shared with this publication. 


“So if re-runs are staged they will add salt to the already healed wounds and might even create new enemies which could seriously affect the party. So appellants will be called by the party president and give them therapy that the party is bigger than an individual and therefore they should work towards promoting BDP.”  While deliberating on this matter, the party leadership was careful not to let the smoke off the lead yet on this prospect. However, some democrats have already got wind of the news and are mobilising to block that decision or seek assistance from the courts.


BDP Appeals Board according to the party Secretary General Mpho Balopi will finish with the protests next Monday with the final report expected on the 17th of this month. Leading the pack for legal redress possibilities are the ministers who lost in the primary elections, another source said this week. At least ten ministers lost in the Bulela Ditswe and are still banking on the re-run possibilities to salvage their political ambitions. 


MP for Phikwe East and minister of presidential affairs, governance and public administration Nonofo Molefhi, Sadique Kebonang, Tshenolo Mabeo, MP for Bobirwa and minister of Defence, justice and security Shaw Kgathi. Others who fell by the wayside include Mmadinare MP and minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Kefentse Mzwinila, Kgalagadi North MP Itumeleng Moipisi who is also Assistant Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, and assistant minister of Agriculture and Food Security who double as Kgalagadi South MP France Van der Westhuizen.


It is also highlighted that not only ministers are contemplating such but rather other candidates. “In Serowe South candidates who lost are also harbouring that decision because they feel somehow the hearing could have been somehow biased as they have a compelling case,” added an informant on Wednesday. The constituency saw Councillor Lesedi Phuthego winning against favourites Tebelelo Seretse and Puma Matlhware. The party article 12 (h) indicates that, “Any decision on an appeal by the central committee shall be final and binding.” 


The party’s executive officer Lesedi Dintwe has also reiterated that, “Whoever goes to court can go but they will be acting outside the confinement of the party because the party has set up independent structures that should deal with these kinds of issues.” “But it should be understood that all the laws and regulations are under those of the country therefore one may go to court, though it is clear within ours that we have relevant structures to deal with any matter,” said Kweneng regional chairperson Motlhophi Leo.


The main reason why the losers are entertaining the idea to challenge the party leadership emanates from a belief that the party seems not to be recognising other structures. “A number of appeals could have not reached the high office because regional structures have already determined their fates and recommended the way forward,” one of the appellant said. The argument from those that lost is the appeals committee should only deliberate only on complex issues which gave regional structures a torrid time. 


“Most of those appeals [Parliamentary], regions had recommended the way forward and there was no use for them to be forwarded to appeals committee,” added a source who could not remember on top of the head the number of appeals decided by regions. Among those that the regions recommended for re-runs includes the two Phikwe constituencies, Tati West, Kgalagadi North. Those close to the developments accuse Balopi for taking the decision to take all the matters to the appeals board which they say was unnecessary as it is said it has since stalled progress as files piled up before the committee.

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