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Modukanele to represent BDP in Lerala-Maunatlala

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee is expected to visit the Lerala-Maunatlala constituency next week Monday to announce the name of Sethabelo Modukanele, a former civil servant, as the candidate for the constituency following the sacking of Prince Maele.

Modukanele is well known in the constituency and has unsuccessfully challenged Maele twice in the party primaries. In the recent primaries, the former director in the Ministry of Health lost will a margin of 180 people to Maele. He had attracted about 3330 votes compared to Maele’s 3500. The BDP central committee is convinced that Modukanele will defend the BDP constituency because of the good numbers he has been attracting everytime he competed.

In the 2014 elections Modukanele was an independent candidate in the general election and was voted by 4600 people. This is also part of the reason why the BDP central committee is convinced that he may just be the right candidate. “Because there were only two candidates in the primary elections, it makes sense that Modukanele is given the green light to represent the party in the coming general election,” said a BDP member in the constituency who preferred anonymity.

Modukanele has a Master’s Degree in Economics from the United Kingdom and has worked as Deputy Director at the Directorate of Public Servioce Management (DPSM). Despite his five months sojourn at the Botswana Movement for Democeracy (BMD) after the 2014 general election, Modukanele is said to be commanding respect among BDP members who did not support Maele.

Modukanele’s supporters point out that he had faced frustrations in the party which forced him to join the BMD then. They ascribe Modukanele’s frustrations to alleged mistreatment by Maele and the branch committee. Modukanele had appealed the outcome of the 2008 BDP primaries but was not given a hearing.

Modukanele’s supporters point out that Maele only joined the BDP in 2002 after being lobbied by the then branch chairman, Victor Malete. “There was a push to remove Thebe Mogami at the time who was seen as an A-team and people wanted a Morata Phathi to dislodge him and Maele was seen as a the right candidate.” Maele lost the 2003 primary elections but ultimately won the 2008 primary elections.

In 2013 he won the BDP primaries again against Modukanele, a development the losing camp alleged was riddled with anomalies. Now, after being booted from the party for undermining the party leadership, Maele will run as an independent candidate, taking the route experienced by Modukanele in 2014. On the other hand Modukanele look set to ride on the powerful BDP brand this time around, the two men have swapped positions and the voter will decide in October.

However Maele is pinning his hopes on his supporters and former President dr Ian Khama’s charm. The former President has since left the ruling party and vowed to fight to the bitter end to ensure that it loses elections this year.  The latest developments clear the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP)’s name from the political space as he remains on contract with Government until February next year.

Carter Morupisi has been constantly linked with the constituency in the past. This week he further distanced himself from politics insisting he is a civil servant. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) look set to be represented by Kabo Ketshogile who seems to have weaved himself into the arms of the UDC leadership despite being BMD.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021

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.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

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.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021

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.

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