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.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.