Court had dismissed AG, Tafa and the BDP with costs
Collins Newman has slapped the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) with a bill estimated at P2.4 million. Party lawyer, Parks Tafa led a team from Collins Newman and Co which represented the party in a case in which it had partnered with the Attorney General to challenge the constitutionality of amendments made to the Parliament standing orders.
The BDP was initially cited in the case as a respondent together with opposition parties, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Umbrella for Democratic Chance (UDC) but later swayed on the side of the Attorney General. They party disclosed through its lawyers that it shared the same views held by the Attorney General’s Office. The AG’s case was later dismissed with costs by three judges. But was appealed by the BDP.
This publication learns that the initial bill from Collins Newman to the BDP currently stands at P2.4 million. The BDP officials could not respond to inquiries by the Weekend Post on Thursday. The party Secretary General, Mpho Balopi said he was outside the country but later responded when engaged through an SMS, “On matters of charges and payments please contact the treasurer Mr Satar Dada or Hon Thapelo Olopeng. I am outside the country in Geneva.”
Dada however refused to comment when engaged on the matter, saying “No , no speak to Balopi on that. He is the one who has answers”. Efforts to contact Dada’s deputy were futile as his phone rang unanswered on Thursday evening. Tafa hung up on this reporter when he was contacted, “I am in London, bye’ is all he could say before he could even hear the reason behind the call.
Reports suggest that Tafa’s bill was recently discussed at length at the BDP Central Commitee meeeting held on Monday. Some, it is understood, were not happy with the bill arguing that Tafa cannot charge that much as he is the one who initiated the case.
We spoke to other political parties to find out how they deal with their legal representatives. Taolo Lucal of the BCP, said their lawyers always put the party first as they understand well its pockets. “They always charge with a bit of sanity and liniency.”
He together with his president, Dumelang Saleshando said their lawyers have not yet given them the bill. UDC leader,Duma Boko and his party spokesperson’s phones were off on Thursday evening. Repeated efforts to contact them did not bear any fruits.
All the three parties recently splashed their hard-earned money in the just-ended highly competitive national elections. The elections was regarded as the most expensive in the history of Botswana elections.
Asked about the Tafa-BDP case, post parliamentary elections, the President, Lt Gen Ian Khama revealed that he knew that they did not have a case but just wanted to go to court to avert ugly possibilities which he had heard of within the BDP. But the then Speaker, Margaret Nasha described the case as the most ‘laughable and ridiculous’.
Khama responded in a clarity-seeking interview with Weekendpost: “Let me explain that because we have been abused on that case, the truth of the matter is that someone I would not reveal his identity confided to me that some people want to challenge the said standing orders and I approached the Attorney General and the party lawyer, Parks Tafa about the matter and it was agreed that we had to clear the matter before the courts to avoid any embarrassment after we had made our elections and everything,” he said.
According to Khama, Tafa and the Attorney General had no case but just wanted to clear the ground. The submissions raised by the Attorney General and the BDP lawyer, Tafa who argued at length the case and even went as far as appealing were that the standing orders are unconstitutional and that they may plunge this country into a constitutional crises.
The confusing part however is that Nasha speaks a totally different story to the case. She has revealed that the Attorney General had prior to the case requested her to suspend the standing orders under question and she refused.
Khama continued that it was on the 23rd of October that he heard that the elections may be challenged as unconstitutional. Khama says he later learnt that the matter was blown out of proportion.
“For the record I am one of those who support the secret ballot system. I actually wanted it to be upheld because people were saying these are internal BDP wars playing themselves out at their expenses. The BDP decision at Parliament to vote unanimously without anyone monitoring or intimidating them has shown that we are a united party as shown by our votes,” he said, after the election of Speakers and endorsement of the Vice President.
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.