Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) young activist Sk Boss Jerry is challenging party veteran Satar Dada for the party Treasurer position at the upcoming July Tonota Congress.
Jerry, a party activist who has served in lower party structures thinks he has what it takes to run for the position given the fact that over the years, nobody has thought about challenging for it. Dada has been at the helm of the BDP treasury for more than two decades now. In 1995 at the height of BDP factional wars, Dada profited from Ponatshego Kedikilwe’s decision to contest the party chairmanship against Mompati Merafhe.
Kedikilwe had been party treasurer for some time until the chairmanship post became available owing to the death of then party chairman Peter Mmusi. Ever since his election in 1995, the BDP treasury has been synonymous with the name Dada, a motor magnate who is also BDP’s chief financier. The Young Turk, currently under the employ of Mineral Services Botswana said he does not understand why the position of the treasurer is always being associated with an individual’s wealth.
“It not about how much money Dada is making. It is about managing the finances of BDP,” he told this publication in an exclusive interview this week. He said being a treasurer of a party of BDP’s stature would be a walk in the park as there is no how he can struggle to attract financers for the BDP. Jerry is confident that he will continue to source funds from various individuals to fund the party but noted that his main worry is the way in which party activities have been financed over the years.
Jerry told this publication that in him coming on board, he will need to introduce some reforms to the BDP treasury. He is of the view that the party should develop other sources of funding models which are sustainable and will also empower lower party structures. “Back in the days the party used to have activities like choir competitions and Miss BDP. We used to raise a lot of funds for lower party structures, but we do not have that now,” he said.
One financial policy which Jerry is determined to implement once in the position of party treasurer is to consider a special funding model for councillors, whom he believes are a vital cog in keeping the party in power. “I am of the view that councillors need more money to campaign than MPs. These are also individuals who work with the people at grassroots level,” he said.
Jerry contended that currently, parliamentary candidates receive better funding than councillors, yet it is councillors who are doing the work for them and the party. Every general elections Dada’s motor centre sponsors the party with 57 vehicles, used to help the party coordinate its campaign activities. Jerry said it is necessary that those vehicles used during elections should remain within the constituency for daily use.
“If it means every constituency buying those vehicles let it be, because it is necessary that party structures always have resources,” he remarked. Jerry said what the party has also been overlooking is the fact that different constituencies have different financial needs. He said this is something which he will give priority once in charge of the treasury.
The youthful activist also criticised the party for sidelining youth in leadership positions. He said he wishes BDP would take a radical step and ensure that the Specially Elected MP positions and councillorships should strictly be the preserve of the youth. He said this will benefit the party in the long run because such practice will ensure that the party grooms credible future party and national leaders. He said BDP is being outdone by UDC which has elected young people such as Phenyo Segokgo and Kagiso Thutlwe to lead councils.
“Young people also believe in what they see. Having young people in leadership positions will also help BDP to attract young voters to its ranks,” he noted. “Already majority of councillors are elderly people, so there is no need in bringing more old people through specially elected dispensation. We need the voice of young people to keep the opposition on their toes. BDP should be setting the tone on that, not the opposition,” he asserted.
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.
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.
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.