The evidence brought before court in the bourgeoning petitions relating to cases in which the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is alleging that at least 13 constituencies were rigged, does not bode well for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Weekend Post is privy to the damaging details contained in an affidavit by one Emmanuel Seretse Mohalodi, who perceives himself as a bona fide life member of the BDP. In his written affidavit Mohalo explains that he is entitled to depose to the affidavit by virtue of being a member of one of the BDP teams that were set up to carry out a vote rigging operation in the just ended 23rd October 2019 General Elections.
He describes that there were several teams set-up and headed by different members of the BDP. One such team is said to have been headed by Moemedi Dennis Baikalafi, who is a member of the BDP Communications Support Sub Committee. “I and Sekati Selaledi and other BDP trusted activists were involved in the operation. All the teams were given targets [per ward in each constituency.
The target was 600 voters per ward for Ghanzi North and South, Kgalagadi North & South, Takatokwane-Dutlwe constituency, Jwaneng –Mabutswane, Kanye North & South, and all other rural based constituencies,” said Mohalodi. The said operation Mohalodi says was supervised by the BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi and BDP Chairperson, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. President Mokgweetsi Masisi is said to have coordinated the entire operation as Chief Campaigner of the BDP.
THE DIS SLUSH FUND
In his written affidavit Mohalodi continues to state the Director of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS), was involved with logistics and provision of slush fund. DIS is alleged to have contributed P15, 000 000.00 (fifteen Million Pula) to carry out the vote rigging exercise. The security organ is alleged to have coordinated the said operation from each region. The team was provided with transport, accommodation and allowances were provided by the DIS whenever they were in their regions.
‘In Central District Region, it was coordinated by Trouser, who is the DIS Regional overseer of Central District Region,” Mohalodi continues. He further alleges that the Private Secretary to the President, Maphakwane, worked closely with the DIS Director to ensure that the operation ran smoothly.
HOW THE DOUBLE REGISTRATION TOOK PLACE
Thousands of people are said to have been ferried to register in all five Gaborone constituencies, across 20 villages in Botswana. Five Hundred people were trafficked into each ward at Gaborone South Constituency, 3000 other voters were trafficked into Gaborone South and majority of these 3000 voters are said to have voted in Lobatse Constituency as well. The affidavit further alleges that other voters came from Mochudi to vote in Gaborone South at Babusi ward and were registered using expired identity cards.
The affected constituencies in the operation people were ferried from Kang to Jwaneng-Mabutshane Constituency, Ngami Constituency to Ghanzi North Constituency, Kanye Constituencies to Gaborone, Molepolole Constituencies to Kgatleng Constituencies, Kopong-Lentsweletau were trafficked to Tlokweng, Selibe-Phikwe East & West to Shashe West and Tati West, Shoshong voters to Lephephe-Letlhakeng, Maun to Boteti West Constituency and Francistolwn South to Tswapong South, Tonota Constituency to Tswapong South, Nkange Constituency to Chobe constituency and Moshupa-Manyana and Kopong-Lentsweletau were trafficked to Gaborone Bonnington North. It is alleged that all the foregoing modus operandi was repeated in all constituencies were voters would vote at their home villages or towns then move to the second constituency to vote for the second-time.
HOW IEC ASSISTED BDP
In executing their mandate, Mohalodi alleges that a mole was needed at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). The IEC moles or inside job operators are alleged to have been at two levels, they had paid moles during registration exercise and at Headquarters after registration. The BDP had verbal agreements with IEC officials who were hired to partake in the registration of voters from 3rd September 2018 to 11th November 2018, 17th December 2018 to mid-March 2019 and 15th April 2019 to 28th April 2019.
The verbal agreements are alleged to have been that a BDP agent would bring a list of 25, or 30, or 50 or 100 people together with their National Identity cards to the registration point. The owners of these identity cards would not appear at the registration point. “Other names were submitted at the homes of these IEC officials to enter into the registration books after hours.”
The alleged Russian system was installed and operated by Omang Office, it was such that if a voter had registered twice in the same district, that voter would be rejected. But if a voter registered in different districts the system would register him or her as a valid voter for the second time. In the same instances same voters were issued with different omang cards.
Buses, seven seater cars, mini-buses, Epsom 7 seaters were provided to Team leaders. Team leaders were also assisted by Members of Parliament in concerned areas with cars to execute their mandate diligently. Team leaders are said to have booked queues at around 3am for voters on the 23rd October 2019.
SNUBBING OF ANTI-MASISI CAMP
The BDP Members of Parliament who lost elections are alleged to have been viewed as ‘Anti-Masisi’, voters were not trafficked into their constituencies because of the aforementioned reason. The affected were Dorcus Makgato, Master Goya, Phillip Makgalemele, Thapelo Olopeng, Francisco Kgoboko, Lesedi Phuthego and Bernard Bolele.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.