Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi has warned against aggrieved party members against dragging the party to courts of law. He described the actions as wayward behaviour and said it should stop in the best interest of the party.
Balopi said this at the backdrop of swelling number of party members running to the courts for remedy when they feel aggrieved by decisions made by the party. Recently, Kamal Jacobs went to seek relief at court following his controversial defeat by Thapelo Matsheka in the Lobatse constituency parliamentary primary election which he insisted was marred by irregularities and therefore outcome unacceptable.
In his court case Jacobs is challenging the legitimacy of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in appointing any party structure including that which falls under the Central Committee, especially the appeals’ committee. His contention is that in terms of the BDP constitution, Masisi is not yet BDP president but that former president Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama still is, as there was no vacancy created.
In another case Member of Parliament for Tati West has also taken the BDP to court on the bases that there were also irregularities in the primary elections which he lost and therefore requested for a re-run but was turned down. Another BDP activist who took the party to court was none other than the son of the founding father of the party, Sir Seretse Khama, Serowe North West legislator, Tshekedi Khama who challenged the inclusion of Moemedi Dijeng as a contender in the primary elections arguing that he campaigned before the party ordered so therefore flouting the party rules and regulations.
In light of the mounting cases pitting members against their party, the BDP Secretary General told Weekend Post this week that the trend is disturbing and putting the party in bad light; adding that the matter is spiralling out of hand hence members maybe forced to tore the line. “The trend is not going to help the party or those that have conflicts with the party. The solution is not putting the party at risk. This is not good for the party. First members should be concerned about the party, how they will hurt it, before they can consider themselves,” Balopi fumed to such party colleagues in an interview with this publication.
He stressed that “it might be a trend that some party members enjoy but it will stop at some point.” According to Balopi, once you bring parties that are fighting in a court matter and bring those issues with third parties (court) you automatically bring the party into disrepute. Balopi’s main concern is that, as a member you don’t give up on the institution without having explored all internal processes you have to go through in the institution which he said the members failed to do in that regard. “You know we have conflict resolution processes in the party but they failed to utilise them,” he emphasised.
He however acknowledged that of course every Motswana has a right to ask for a remedy at court within the confinements of law. But if you belong to an institution like the BDP which has values, rules and processes, then a member has to fully comply with such, he added. He gave an example about a recent prominent case when the party was taken to court to challenge the legitimacy of Masisi as president which he said was ill advised.
“People should always remind and familiarise themselves about party constitution, rules and regulations, before embarrassing themselves,” the BDP SG pointed out. He continued: “there is one thing that I always say, if somehow one wants to challenge the constitution saying President Masisi is not a legitimate BDP leader to appoint a BDP committee – then it is done in bad faith.”
According to Balopi, in terms of the constitution, when the BDP is in power, the Vice President automatically becomes president of Botswana. The BDP constitution further says VP takes over as president of the party, he said. Balopi emphasised that although Jacobs was free to go court route but he failed to engage the party on the matter. “That one is malicious,” Balopi told Weekend Post point blank.
Balopi further explained that “my argument is that there is a way to sought interpretation from the party without going to court to avoid putting party into disrepute. Like I always say, BDP is bigger than all of us.” He said however that the party will not be in a hurry to take action against the individuals who have been dragging the party to court because as a party they “should understand the motives of those members first. We shouldn’t hurry to take action. We won’t act impulsively from the media or other people.”
On whether Tshekedi has not set a bad precedence by being a key figure to take the party to court and action not taken against him like in the same manner in which it was exerted on the late Gomolemo Motswaledi who took the then president Khama to court, but was punished, Balopi could not be drawn into the discussion. “I am not privy to such information. I don’t understand it. So I would not want to respond to it,” he said.
Information reaching this publication suggests that the failure by the party to discipline Tshekedi Khama after he dragged the party which was founded by his father, to court has given some party members a nerve to do likewise going forward with the intention to see if double standards will be applied to party none entities, unknown faithfuls and novices.
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.