The rivalry between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president, Advocate Duma Boko and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Dr Sidney Pilane played out at the magistrate court this Friday at a hearing where the latter wants the former and his wife to be struck off the Voters’ roll for violating section 67 of the constitution.
Pilane is acting under the instructions of one John Keemenao Siele who is adamant that Boko is not a resident of Phase II in Gaborone as he purports rather his principal residence is Tlokweng. According to Pilane, Boko and his lawyers are well aware that what is alleged before the court is true. Pilane is also representing another complainant who wants another UDC candidate, Haskins Nkaingwa struck off the roll in Gaborone North because he is not a resident there. Pilane is most likely to also contest as a Parliamentary candidate in Gaborone North.
Boko's lawyer, attorney Dick Bayford this week asked presiding magistrate, Mogi Paya for a postponement to a later date. Allegations against the leader of Opposition (LOO) if argued successfully in court may make him ineligible to contest for election at the Bonninton North constituency allegedly because it is not his principal residence. This could also mean that Boko will not run as a Presidential candidate against Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leader, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and Alliance for Progressives (AP) president Ndaba Gaolathe.
Parallel to the case against Boko, AP leader, Ndaba Gaolathe also has eight more cases challenging his eligibility to run as a candidate in Gaborone Bonnington South. Last week he won two cases and pledged not to seek costs from those who questioned his principal residence as per section 67 of the constitution.
Meanwhile, Boko’s lawyer, Bayford told the magistrate that they need more time to advice themselves on the matter, so as to safeguard Boko's rights under the prevailing circumstances. The UDC President’s lawyer had also questioned the process through which some of the evidence against Boko was gathered, at one point referring to a subpoena to the clerk of the National Assembly as “fraudulent”.
The complainant against Boko had solicited information about Boko from the National assembly and was denied because of the privileges of privacy extended to Members of Parliament but when the substantive clerk went on a trip, according to Bayford information was accessed through an Acting officer. Further information on Boko has been retrieved from the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and from Water Utilities Corporation (WUC). Bayford 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 not run for Parliament or Presidency as the leader of the main opposition party.”
Pilane did not object the postponement because "We want them to come prepared, fully prepared." However he dismissed Bayford’s arguments insisting that Boko was a voter just like all other Batswana. “All that is being raised is irrelevant, what matters is the law,” he said. Pilane is of the view that Boko is not special, he must be subjected to the same laws as all other citizens.
Pilane advised presiding Magistrate Mogi Paya not to be intimidated at the hearing. He said: "Please don't be intimidated by the attempt to make him (Boko) special because he is not. He is a voter just like you and me, it is only in that capacity that he is before you. He is not above the law. He is as subject to the law as you and me. The position he holds is irrelevant in this debate." Boko’s case has been postponed to a later date, and Pilane has indicated that all the evidence they gathered was to ensure that they assist the magistrate in determining the outcome of the trial.
Uyapo Ndadi, a renowned Gaborone attorney representing AP leader Ndaba Gaolathe in a similar matter has pointed out that stakes are high in these election. He said the objections have grave consequences, because the Magistrate’s decision is final and not subject to appeal. “For example, if the objector succeeds against Rre Boko by getting his name removed from the voters roll, then he will not be able eligible to run as an MP and as President, because for one to do so, they must be registered to vote.”
John Siele the objector in the Boko case, has lodged a case against Alliance for Progressives Gaborone Bonnington North parliamentary candidate, Dr Kaelo Molefhe before court. Siele is a registered as an independent candidate for Moselewapula ward council seat. In a similar fashion Siele argues that Molefhe is registered to vote in the upcoming elections using a physical address said not to be his principal residential place. The claim is alleged to be contrary to the Electoral Act.
Meanwhile Pilane and Boko will tussle again in court on August 29 in a matter where the BMD is praying with the court to reverse the UDC decision to expel it from the coalition. The panel of judges will preside over the matter. Bayford is representing the UDC again on the matter.
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.