Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko yesterday (Friday) emerged victorious in a case in which his eligibility to register for the 2019 General Elections in Phase 2, Gaborone was challenged.
Boko had registered in Phase 2 plot 19746 in Gaborone, a place which has attracted the court case brought by John Keemenao Siele and Arthur Tabane. The duo argued that they know the said plot and highlighted that Boko and wife do not and have never resided there but rather in Tlokweng. By providing a wrong principal address when registering for elections is contrary to section 67 of the constitution and the Electoral Act.
The Electoral Act states that “a person shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which he or she has his or her residence, or if he or she has more than one residence in Botswana in the constituency in which he or she has his or her principal residence.” When delivering judgement on Friday, packed with UDC activists and sympathizers, Village Magistrate Court Goodwill Makofi dismissed the matter.
The Magistrate relied and cited heavily on Boko’s heads of arguments which he said gave him enough reason to rule on their favour. According to Makofi, Boko’s reasons were compelling to have registered in Phase 2 where they had moved in due to his mother’s conditions whom was not unwell and diagnosed with cancer although cured of it at a later time.
“I state categorically that on the date of registration, I, together with my wife and last born so, Moono, were residents at plot no. 19746 Phase 2, Gaborone. We had moved in with my mother in December 2017,” Magistrate said in the judgement while agreeing to Boko. On his part the objector, Siele had indicated in his founding affidavit that “I know plot 19746, Phase 2, Gaborone West, and I have known it since the beginning of 2014. I also know that Boko and his wife, Kaone Tiny, do not and have never resided at the latter plot. This I know by reason of what follows next.”
I also know that the property is not and has never been his residence, he insisted in the court papers. The objectors has therefore emphasized that they want Boko and wife be struck off from the voters roll for violating section 67 of the constitution and the Electoral Act. In the event Boko lost the case he was not going to be eligible to contest parliamentary seat in Gaborone Bonnington North constituency as it would have not been his principal residence.
This could have gone further to strip him of his presidential ambitions as a UDC presidential candidate against the ruling Botswana Democratic party (BDP)’s Mokgweetsi Masisi as well as Ndaba Gaolathe of Alliance for Progressives (AP). Boko's lawyer, attorney Dick Bayford has recently explained that they had to understand Boko’s case in the context of Botswana democracy, “because if he is struck off the roll he will also not run for Parliament or Presidency as the leader of the main opposition party.”
In the matter, Advocate Sidney Pilane was acting under the instructions of the objector John Siele while Bayford represented Boko. The judgement came after Senior Magistrate Matlhodi Paya of Village court recused herself as she was said to be related to BDP President Masisi. Meanwhile, although Boko won the case, Ndaba Gaolatlhe also face to be struck off the IEC voters roll and barred from contesting the elections for listing his residence as Plot 25569 Block 9, which is his Constituency office – in a similar matter.
The other politicians which may also be removed from voters roll include AP Bonnington North candidate Kaelo Molefhe, and UDC parliamentary candidate for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa among others.
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.