Eric Molale (pictured) and Motsaathebe headline wish list
Four candidates of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who submitted their names for the Goodhope-Mabule constituency primary election attempted to nail a final minute deal to have only one of them taking on cabinet Minister, Eric Molale in the party primaries scheduled for July 11th but failed.
The four, Kenaleone Motsaathebe, Topo Mononi, Mogatle and Phillip Sebakile met at the Phakalane Gold Resort to try and agree on a consensus candidate among themselves but failed. The talks were doomed to fail because the four candidates met after paying the P5000 application fee to earn a right to contest the primaries.
Another indication that the talks were nullity was the fact that the BDP political education sub-committee held talks with all candidates to try and rally around one person but the talks also collapsed as the candidates could not agree. The four candidates have since agreed to disagree and go for the jugular.
The candidates have been notified that the primaries will be held on July 11th, this will be immediately after the party’s elective congress in Mmadinare.
The party central committee has taken a decision that no time should be wasted after the central committee and all members of the new central committee will be expected to descend in Borolong to activate the campaign which is expected to be challenging because the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will be fielding the paramount chief of Barolong, Kgosi Lotlamoreng II.
The 11th July date makes the situation very tricky for primary election candidates because it makes the campaign time very short. Some have even decided not to go to the Mmadinare congress because of time constraints as they want to canvass votes. They have only one week to do that. Given the vastness of the constituency, the contestants will need resources to be able to cover it in a short space of time.
The other candidates seem to be riled by Molale’s decision to contest, veterans within the BDP point to the issue of resources as the most pain for them. Molale may present a formidable challenge because of his access to resources despite his less colourful political experience.
Motsaathebe was seen as the heir apparent to former Member of Parliament for Borolong, Kitso Mokaila. But as fate will have it, Molale was drawn into politics by way of special nomination and this changed prospects for Motsaathebe altogether. He hopes to win the primaries though since he has been through the structures.
Motsaathebe has a colourful political curriculum vitae – he has served the BDP at various structures. He has been the national chairperson of the BDP Youth Wing between 2008 and 2010, a position that put him straight into the ruling party’s central committee.
He also served in the same structure from 2006 to 2008 under the leadership of Kefentse Mzwinila. Motsaathebe was a member of the BDP national disciplinary committee between 2007 and 2009.
At one stage he was at the helm of Tshekedi Khama’s bid to come to Parliament, replacing his brother, Lt Gen Ian Khama. He has also helped the course of BDP’s fraternal relations with the African National Congress (ANC) during his days as Youth Wing chairman by engaging them on various issues and inviting them to Botswana. Today most of those he fraternised with are elevated in the ANC or outside the ANC.
Pule Mabe is a member of the ANC executive and also a Member of Parliament; while Julius Malema has formed his own party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and is also in Parliament. Motsaathebe now wants to emulate his peers and go to Parliament, but first he must win BDP primary elections.
He is said to be against primaries being held on the 11th because the campaign time is very short. He has tried to make himself relevant in the constituency by registering the Barolong Development Trust at the behest of former MP, Mokaila. He has also provided his legal services pro-bono to residents of the constituency.
BLOCK MOLALE PETITION FOILED Molale is the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration – he came to Parliament by way of Special election by the President. He is also a former Permanent Secretary to the President, a career civil servant who cultivated friends and foes during his career. He is the most senior of the candidates, and is well resourced.
At a meeting of the PEEC of the BDP, he denied allegations raised by his opponents that he was flouting regulations by campaigning before time. He also put to bed, talk that he is running because he wants to be Vice President in 2018; he denied such reports as they were put before him by other candidates. He made it clear that he only wants to serve the people of Morolong by direct appointment.
Molale appears however, to be having the support of the majority of BDP councillors in the constituency. The Khama card may also work for him, his campaign troops on the ground are citing the fact that he is trusted by the President as a wild card for him.
Molale is not moved by the issues raised by his opponents that he is already in Parliament hence he should not be contesting. They state that Borolong already has two representatives in Parliament and Molale wants to reduce the number.
Molale will have to resign his Parliament seat should he win the primaries so that he contests Goodhope-Mabule. On the other hand Molale seems to have crossed the bridge in regard to a would-be protest from the four other candidates which alleged that he submitted his application to contest the primaries late.
They alleged that he submitted his papers well after the cut off time of 12 noon. But indications are that Molale’s name has been accepted by the branch in Goodhope and indeed by the central committee which sat in Mmadinare on Thursday.
Mononi has tried his luck on a number of occasions. He has always been unlucky with elections. In the last general election he tied with a UDC candidate for the Goodhope ward but went on to lose the re-run. In 2008 he lost the BDP primary elections for Goodhope ward to Seleha Ditshwane.
On the 23rd of May this year, Mononi lost branch chairmanship elections to Kago Kamodi in Rakhuna. However he is confident that despite his unimpressive record with elections, he may pull a surprise in the constituency primary election this time around.
Phillip Sebakile is from Mabule, and he expects to play the wild card of being the loner from the other side. He solely banks on Mabule residents to help him cross the bridge. He has no leadership track record in the BDP, safe to being a member.
Mogatle, a former police officer is from Pitsane and will help nurture democracy in the BDP primaries.
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.