20 independents candidates have up to this week registered their names with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) contesting for parliamentary seats in the coming 2019 General Elections in Botswana.
IEC has also registered a whopping 198 independent Council candidates whom have also thrown in their names in the ring for the coming up polls. The 20 parliamentary independent candidates will contest among the 57 constituencies and the 198 prospective independent Councillors will also be battling in between the 490 wards dispersed in the country. IEC has confirmed that the number of the independent candidates is growing and it’s likely to present the highest record number in years.
In 2014, research indicates that there were only 29 independent candidates at the time of elections and none of them won a parliamentary seat. An official at the IEC stated that on average one independent candidate vying for a parliamentary seat registers every week and the trend may continue until the elections which are expected in October or thereabout. Speaking to Weekend Post this week, Osupile Maroba, the IEC official spokesperson also confirmed that the numbers are sky rocketing.
“The rate at which the independents candidates are registering with us, the number is likely to grow up especially towards the impending elections,” Maroba pointed out. He continued to highlight that if the numbers grow at this rate they will outshine any record. When this publication went further to inquire on the names of the independents, Maroba could not reveal the names citing confidentiality.
“At this stage some of them (independents) pleaded with the commission to preserve their confidentiality and privacy in the matter until they roll their campaigns on the ground,” Maroba insisted. Meanwhile, a renowned Political analyst and Professor of Political Science at the highest institution of learning, University of Botswana (UB) Professor Zibani Maundeni said it is too early to make sense of the logic behind the increasingly number of independents in the coming elections.
“It’s too early to comment on it,” he said when approached by this publication, adding that we need to know their names and political history in terms of where they come from. He pondered: “Most of them which party do they come from, and which party did not produce an independent, and why? We need to find out so that we can draw a conclusion on which party has many independents and reasons thereof.”
Professor Maundeni also highlighted that of course some independent candidates are just individuals without any ties with the political parties and that also has to come out clear after the assessments of their names. “Without this information, it is therefore difficult to analyse the situation,” the UB academic insisted. Another UB Political analyst in the Political Science department, Leornard Sesa also concurred with Professor Maundeni that some of the independent candidates have political origins or where they come from and that should inform the analysis.
“You will realise that most of these independents have roots where they come and if from political parties you will find internal squabbles and conflicts that led them to register as independents,” Sesa pointed out. If you look at the parties, he said where there is a new leader, other members’ revolt when they get exposed to new leadership styles that they are not used to. “But people have to welcome and accept whichever leader comes on board, with his her own thinking,” he said.
According to Sesa, the collective ideologue of politics, it appears, is no longer respected. He continued: “there is a big brother mentality by some members over some political parties. So they end up being suspended, expelled or quitting on their own volition, when it becomes hot in the kitchen.” The Political Scientist gave the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as an example to validate his analogy.
“The party has been slapping some members, seen as non-conformist, with suspensions and expulsions. In the end, feeling aggrieved, such members end up with no option but becoming independents candidates, hence the skyrocketing number,” he said. Some of the independents candidates include Jacob Kamal who lost the BDP Lobatse constituency primary election, as well as Tshephang Mabaila who also lost the party primary in Mogoditshane.
Others are former BDP Gaborone West North legislator Robert Masitara, and ex Serowe North BDP legislator Ramadeluka Seretse among many others. Independents candidates in Botswana are not on the good side of history as, to date, only one parliamentary independents candidate, Nehemiah Modubule has won an election at Lobatse in 2009 General Elections.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.