The recent discovery of some registration books in Woodhall ward in Lobatse reveals a clandestine plan that was hatched to grant party favourite, Dr Thapelo Matsheka an edge over Kamal Jacobs in last year’s parliamentary race.
Kamal Jacobs had appealed the elections outcome but was turned down by the appeals board committee, a move that saw him approach the courts citing irregularities in the manner in which the elections were conducted. Jacobs also challenged President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s legitimacy as party president. WeekendPost has seen the four registration books labelled Woodhall Ward with 200 registered names that were reportedly not put on the voters roll.
Sources close to the developments say a plan to remove all the incumbent councillors and area Member of Parliament Sadique Kebonang was long devised as a result of the fallout between Kebonang and branch chairman Jomo Dithebe and branch secretary Tebogo Sesinyi. Both the branch chairman and his secretary were disappointed that Kebonang did not nominate them for specially elected councillors after 2014 general elections.
Investigations revealed that only the chairman and branch secretary general were at the helm of distributing registration books in all the 12 wards a move that allegedly ensured underground dealings that defied all democratic principles of free and fair registration. It is alleged that the branch committee members objected to this illicit practice on numerous occasions but the answer has been that the party secretary general, Mpho Balopi had instructed them to do so.
Some wards were reportedly denied books while others were given plenty at once. Proof has it that the completed books were initially not submitted to Tsholetsa House and the secretary general indicated that there were no registration funds accompanying them even though receipt records provided showed that there was payment. The first meeting with Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) representatives indicated that books were not arriving at Tsholetsa House even though the branch claimed that over 100 books were submitted.
According sources, the committee was kept in the dark despite their constant request to the branch secretary that they needed updates. The books started being submitted to Tsholetsa House reportedly after Matsheka started participating actively in the campaign. At this point, it is believed that the party leadership had made their mind and a deal had been struck. There were also reports of voter trafficking from Goodhope-Mabule constituency.
Months after the primary elections more registration books which were not submitted to Tsholetsa House are being discovered and the general suspicion is that more books will be uncovered. The duo of chair and secretary openly campaigned for Matsheka and told voters that he is the party choice chosen by elders and that everyone who does not support him action will be taken at a later stage. When contacted for comment, Balopi said the procedure to take registration books from Tsholetsa House to register and recruit members is the entirely the mandate of every member of the BDP.
He said however for issues of accountability, they have now allowed only party structures access to the books. Balopi said there is a very transparent process of issuing books and accountability on those who are entrusted with them. He said every book has a unique serial number thus they can easily establish which books are missing and from which structures. The BDP secretary general said at the moment only registration books from opposition held constituencies are back at Tsholetsa House.
He lamented that they instructed a cut off in those structures to avoid confusion. However Balopi would not rule out the possibility of some registration books be found at Woodhall ward in Lobatse saying at times this books get lost during the process. He also confessed that at times those in possession of books will squander the registration and subscription monies and not return the books. He further said in those circumstances action will be taken against them because they have defrauded ordinary Batswana.
Lobatse branch chairman Jomo Dithebe could not be reached for comment as all his mobile phones were off the whole time. Jacobs who lost the Lobatse BDP primary elections to Dr Matsheka said he long warned that the BDP system is fraud because they choose to favour other candidates over others and such actions culminate in the standoff or fallout between democrats. Jacobs who has been battling the matter at the courts of law said they have long appealed to the highest structures at Tsholetsa House but their plea was never considered.
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.