Member of Parliament for Serowe West and Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has criticised the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership and its members for mistreating him and his elder brother—who is also former President — Lt Gen Ian Khama.
The legislator made this criticism during the BDP meeting in Kgosing Ward in Serowe West constituency yesterday. Tshekedi said members of his party have long been fighting with him, in a bid to oust him from the party and have him replaced with Moemedi Dijeng. “They tried, and they failed, and they are now attacking us,’’ said Tshekedi. He mentioned Steady Sethaba as one of the BDP members who is still de-campaigning him.
“BDP does not belong to anybody, nobody owns it. I learnt politics from Ian Khama and Lesego Raditanka. They recruited me to politics and I did not think that one day things will twist a different way,” he said. “There is no respect within the party. People are insulting others.’’ He pointed out that BDP was formed in 1962 and there was respect within the party—members respect each other, ‘’unlike today where members are insulting and fighting for positions,’’ insisting that BDP is totally different.
He expressed displeasure on how BDP leadership and its members are treating him and his elder brother emphasizing Keletso Rakhudu who is a BDP member and Chairman of Serowe Show Committee did not invite him Serowe Show. Tshekedi said they were also not invited to a dinner with the president during the show. Rakhudu, a two-term legislator who represented Gaborone North, and also served as cabinet minister during Khama’s presidency — was among Tshekedi’s primary elections rivals in 2018.
“I am surprised because all this events were in my constituency. Even the District commissioner called me complaining that I was not invited to the show,’’ he said. ‘’I urge you to go and ask yourself questions and answer them on how the BDP is treating us, with my elder brother. I give you an assignment.’’ Information gathered suggests that Tshekedi is expected to dump BDP and follow his brother to the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
The straw that broke camel’s back was when BDP Women’s Wing chairperson, Dorcas Makgato, made remarks which suggested that Khama had introduced tyrannical alcohol laws simple because his father had died of alcohol related complications at a political rally in Chadibe. The remarks caused a stir her political rivals surmised that she was attacking the party’s founding father, Sir Seretse Khama. Last week Tuesday when addressing the media, Makgato went on offensive mode saying the former president is a divisive character who is abusing bogosi for some cheap political scores.
According to a highly place source from BPF, Tshekedi and Ian Khama together with BPF members will be heading to Sefhare–Ramokgonami constituency next week to de-campaign her. Meanwhile Tshekedi will be touring his constituency accompanied by Ian to inform them on his final decision to quit BDP. Information gathered suggests that BDP activists together with high ranking party officials have been holding a series of secret meetings in anticipation of Tshekedi defection.
In the BDP primary elections for Serowe West constituency, Tshekedi garnered 2,797, while Moemedi Dijeng was trailing behind him with 1,594 followed by Keletso Rakhudu with 462 votes. If Tshekedi decide to quits Dijeng will be called to represent the party, as per the party’s recently announced policy on replacing candidates.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.