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BDP’s post primary elections headache

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi has admitted that the protests and appeals from party members who lost in the August primary elections have put the party leadership between a rock and a hard place.

Balopi was speaking on Thursday at the party’s monthly press briefing which focused on the primary elections.  He said going to the elections, the party registered 1247 candidates who expressed interest in representing the BDP at council level; and 140 candidates expressed interest in parliamentary candidature. According to Balopi, after the conclusion of the primary election process the party registered 171 protests from council candidates and 42 protests from parliamentary contenders, hence a total of protests.

After the regions assessed all the protests and determined which claims carried more weight— those that have been forwarded to the Appeals Committee are only 79. The constitution demands that any appeal lodged shall be attended to within seven days of their being tendered, and a decision be reached within 30 days. From the 79 cases which the committee has already started working on, 27 are from the parliamentary candidates while 49 are from council level.

“The central committee has pleaded with the Appeal’s Committee to give each case the necessary attention it deserves,” Balopi said. He however could not reveal the constituencies that have inundated Tsholetsa House with appeals. This publication has gathered that the constituencies that have most of the complaints are the ones where most cabinet ministers are incumbents.

Kgalagadi North (Itumeleng Moipisi), Ghanzi South, Kanye North (Patrick Ralotsia), Tati West (Biggie Butale) and Selibe Phikwe East (Nonofo Molefhi) and Bobonong (Shaw Kgathi) are among the constituencies where candidates have furnished the party office with appeals. Not only those, sources say, Serowe South and Serowe West candidates have also lodged appeals to the party asking for a re-run.

Most of the appeals according to Balopi emanated from complaints that happened on election day, not the process of Bulela Ditswe. “Those who have appealed complain about the conduct on the election day. This may include the people who were presiding over the elections in various regions. It is the responsibility of the branch to prepare and select those who oversee elections. It is not the issue of missing names on the voter’s roll.”  

BALOPI WARNS INDISCIPLINED MEMBERS

Balopi called on party members to be disciplined saying they are watching those who might do things outside the parameters of the party confinement. “We see others are very happy to be partnering with the media or others to accelerate their wishes in terms of achieving whatever they want to outside the confinement of the party constitution and the code of conduct.”

He was nonetheless cagey to point as to whether he is referring to former President Khama who has enjoyed media coverage together with the suspended Tshephang Mabaila. “It is not in our DNA to link an elder like former President to issues of discipline,” he responded when asked if his misgivings are aimed at former President Khama.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

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
boko-and-khama

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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