At least eight cabinet ministers’ names are expected to be forwarded to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman, Slumber Tsogwane for allegedly conniving with opposition candidates in certain constituencies to defeat their own party colleagues, Weekendpost has reliably been informed.
The ministers in question are predominantly those who lost the BDP primary elections last year. Reports coming from highly placed sources suggest that the cabinet ministers are unhappy with the manner in which they lost the primaries. They allege that the process was contaminated and dubious and as a result they are finding it difficult to accept fraudulent election outcomes hence they would not endorse beneficiaries of a “duplicitous fiasco dubbed Bulela Ditswe” instead they prefer to watch the game as spectators.
However the alleged conduct of these ministers is distressing the victorious candidates; and they intend to register their complaints with the party Chairman, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane. The Vice President is expected to reconcile the warring parties in due course. It is not clear when the aggrieved lot will submit the names and whether they will forward them as a bloc or individually.
WeekendPost is nonetheless reliably informed that, Kanye North, Lentsweletau/ Mmopane, Selibe Phikwe East, Mmadinare, Mahalapye East, Takatokwane and Thamaga and Bobonong constituencies are fingered in this guerrilla style ambush of the ruling BDP. All these constituencies are currently under the custody of various ministers all of whom lost the controversial party primary elections.
The tradition within the ruling BDP has always been that whoever loses primary elections should support the winner. But this time around with a high number of protests all citing irregularities; and subsequent re-runs which favoured only a few, some of the party members who lost are determined to have the last laugh. This was evident when various ministers petitioned the party with some going to the extent of going to the courts of law to seek redress. The disgruntlement over the primaries also palyed out when about 28 sitting BDP Councillors defected to the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
Reports from Phikwe East which is under Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi suggest that the parliamentary candidate, Amogelang Mojuta is concerned by his relationship with the minister. Molefhi is said to have folded his arms and not helping in the campaigns despite having a better appreciation of the constituency.
“The relationship is not satisfactory and this is likely to put the party at a disadvantage as those that support Molefhi are very much likely not to vote for Mojuta but any other candidate and this could put the BDP in a back foot,” one BDP member told WeekendPost. Molefhi was unhappy with the handling and conduct of the primary elections. He had registered his displeasure with the party and was denied a re-run.
The finger pointing is not only is Selibe Phikwe, in Kanye North which is under the former Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia could be gliding away from the BDP. “It is project done covertly out there, and it might appear that they are together but at no point have we seen him and Letsholo (Thapelo) together and even endorsing him. As village leaders they do come to us and ask us to endorse opposition at the expense of the BDP candidate,” one Kanye headman told this publication in an interview.
“I am not joining BPF like many people anticipate. I have been receiving calls from some of the residents enquiring about my intention of joining the party but I am focused on BDP. However, it is my choice to associate with Dr Ian Khama and nobody should question that; that’s filthy politics,” Ralotsia was quoted saying. The Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Ngaka Ngaka is also accused of conniving with opposition candidates in Takatokwane constituency. A senior party member in the region has confirmed to this publication that indeed the relationship between the minister and the BDP representative for the constituency has never been good.
“The tiff started when the party ordered a re-run after Friction Leuwe won the primaries. He (Leuwe) won again and the relationship reached the lowest ebb. On stage Ngaka may appear to be endorsing his mate but deep down as the constituents we know who is who in the zoo,” said the BDP member. The members have revealed that they are planning to seek audience with the party chairman just like they did when the party ordered a re-run.
Vincent Seretse, Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development and MP for Lentsweletau – Mmopane is also reported not to be interested in the game of politics. Nnaniki Makwinja is racing alone in a bitter war that could swing anywhere. While some had linked him with the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), Seretse has dismissed the allegations insisting, “Im still a BDP member,” he said when asked about endorsing Makwinja but could not dwell on their relationship.
The same accusations have been levelled against Kefentse Mzwinila who is Minister of Land Management Water and Sanitation Services and also Mmadinare legislator. Parliamentary hopeful Molebatsi Molebatsi is said to be also fighting the battle alone. However there is a twist here because this is one of the so called “safe BDP seats” because the opposition has not invested a lot in it.
Gaborone Bonnignton South Member of Parliament (MP) Christian Greef has submitted a letter of complaint to party chairman Slumber Tosogwane to take stern action against former minister Dr Alfred Madigele for causing chaos in the constituency.
There has been simmering tension between the two in Gaborone Bonnignton South, where former minister Dr. Madigele is said to be busy working the ground with the intention of contesting the constituency in 2024. Greef is said to have fallen out of favour with the party top hierarchy due to his association with the beleaguered party secretary general Mpho Balopi, something which he says is “unfounded”. Greef told this publication that “there are some with mischievous attempts here, but I will sort them out.”
Insiders, however, reveal that it is Madigele who has been causing unrest in the constituency as he plots his comeback to parliament in 2024. This is notwithstanding the fact that Madigele has also been promised the position of secretary general, should the party faithful ratify a proposal by the party politburo to reconfigure the position.
However, Madigele does not want to count on the SG position, hence the decision to to contest the Gaborone Bonnington South constituency. There are reports that there is a spirited campaign by some party members to reject a mulled plan to have the SG being a full-time employee of the party. This has irked Greef and has since approached the party structures for redress. “We are writing this letter to issue a complaint regarding misconduct by certain members of the BDP in our constituency.
There are several incidents where these individuals have been causing uncalled-for disruptions during party activities in Gaborone Bonnington South,” a letter penned by Greef, addressed to the regional chairperson, reads. He further added, “The group of people who are causing all these unnecessary tension in our constituency is identified and allegedly known by Madigele’s teams who is said to be campaigning for 2023 primary elections.
As the branch we witnessed the same team with similar misconduct during Bophirima Ward by election which we believe caused the party to lose the ward and continue to bring the image of the party in disrepute.” Lately, Madigele has relocated to the same constituency and that has created anxiety to Greef who is a first-time MP. Greef is concerned about how his rival was accepted in his constituency without his knowledge. If he had his wish, he would kick out Madigele from the constituency.
Greef, in another letter copied to President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and Chairman Slumber Tsogwane, says Madigele has brought the branch into disarray by campaigning for a parliamentary seat contrary to the party’s regulations for conduct of primary elections. “I therefore humbly appeal to you to call Dr Madigele, who is not a member of our branch, to order,” he said. Party officials in the region are aware of the matter; some say the MP’s complaint is baseless. However, the MP, according to sources, will fight to the bitter end to ensure that his arch rival is purged out.
Monthe and Marumo Attorneys who are representing suspended Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo in a legal dispute pitting him against the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have said that they would submit a legal bill to the agency.
This was after DCEC’s acting Director General, Tshepo Pilane had written a letter to the law firm demanding that some files and documents belonging to the agency be returned. “We refer to your letter dated 3rd June 2022 wherein you advised of termination of our mandate. In view thereof we have to file a notice of withdrawal as attorneys of record for and on behalf of the Organisation (DCEC),” Monthe Marumo Attorneys said in their letter.
The lawyers also indicated that, “the firm is in the process of finalizing your invoice and upon settlement of same, we will duly release the contents of the file, in so far as it relate to DCEC.” Pilane had informed the law firm that, “Following the Directorate’s termination of any and/or mandate between the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and your law firm and/or attorney of an Associate law firm of Monthe Marumo and Company on the 3rd June 2022.”
He added that, “I do hereby request that all DCEC documents in custody be returned to the DCEC on or before 12hours today the 6th June 2022. You are also informed that none of this information shall be used by your office under any circumstances.” Meanwhile Katlholo has told the High Court that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security was on the rampage as it continues to act with impunity.
He revealed this in an urgent application in which he seeks among others that Pilane, Deputy Director General of DCEC Priscilla Israel and the agency’s senior legal advisor Edwin Batsalwelang to be committed to jail for contempt of a court. The Court order had directed that a deputy sheriff should collect files and dockets from the DCEC office and place them into the custody of the Court. “Consequent to the order of his Lordship, the DISS has continued on its rampage and has arrested two officers of the DCEC and detained them in a Hitler style arrangement,” said Katlholo.
He added that, quite clearly the “DISS with the assistance of the 1st to 3rd Respondents seeks to conceal all the evidence by obstructing Judicial process.” He said his latest current application has been brought at the earliest opportunity following defiance and acts of obstruction at the instance of the respondents. Katlholo saidthe conduct of the Pilane, Israel, Batsalelwang and DIS are an aggression on the rule of law, the Constitution of Botswana and the Judiciary in general.
“The DISS clearly has every intention of continuing to defy my rights and with the due assistance of the 1st to 3rd Respondents (Pilane, Israel and Batsalelwang). To refuse an interdict, thereby allowing the perpetration of an ongoing wrong is an anathema to the principle of legality,” said Katlholo. He said, “The DISS cannot be allowed to continue acting in contravention of the law, and to fragrantly invade an act of Parliament.”
He reiterated that the files or documents or dockets remain vulnerable and there is need that they be removed from the office and placed in the custody of the Registrar. There can never be a safe place than Court, said Katlholo. “Should the matter not be heard as urgent, the likelihood of the files concerned and the information therein dissipating or being interfered with is high and once the evidence of the concerned files has been compromised or contaminated there is no other relief in law that fix such, there is therefore no alternative remedy,” he said.
Katlholo added that, “Most importantly, any unwarranted access to the files may compromise the integrity of ongoing investigations and expose informants and whistleblowers. Once they have been compromised, no court action may restore such.” He said it was necessary and extremely urgent that the Court steps in to protect the rule of law against the respondents, more particularly the DIS and its agents.
The United States through its State Department’s annual report on global religious freedoms is keeping tabs on Botswana’s decision to arrest of controversial pastor Thuso Tiego by the police.
The report was released a week ago. Tiego was re-arrested this week by the police after he allegedly attempted to spearhead a campaign aimed at shutting down some shops that are run by foreigners. The US’ State Department report says Police arrested a pastor from the Bethel Transfiguration Church September 7 when he tried to deliver a petition to President Mokgweetsi Masisi demanding his resignation over what the pastor said was mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis.
“The pastor, Thuso Tiego, also criticized the government for restricting religious gatherings at a time when he said that individuals turned to churches for counselling and support during the pandemic,” the report says. It says Tiego was held overnight at a police station and released without charge. The report cites media reports saying that several of his supporters were beaten by police when they gathered outside the station demanding Tiego’s release.
“The national police service did not announce any disciplinary action against the officers involved,” the report says adding that, “The constitution provides for freedom of religion, with certain exceptions, and protection against governmental discrimination based on creed.” On other related issues, the report said the government continued to pursue court cases involving unregistered churches (sometimes called “fire churches”) coming into the country to “take advantage of” local citizens by demanding tithes and donations for routine services or special prayers.
“The government required pastors of some of those churches to apply for visas – even those from countries whose nationals were normally allowed visa-free entry. The government said in June 2019 that it was reviewing the visa policy for these foreign pastors, but by year’s end had not released the results of this review or announced any changes,” the report says. According to the report, former members of one of the most prominent unregistered churches forced to close in 2019, the Enlightened Christian Gathering, subsequently formed their own smaller, independent churches with local leadership that was ultimately registered by the government.
The report says, under the COVID-19 state of emergency that ended in September, the government limited attendance at religious services to no more than 50 persons at one time and limited services to twice a week. The government also banned all religious gatherings during “extreme social distancing” periods. Although the limits on religious gatherings lasted 18 months and prevented some individuals from fully practicing their faith, most religious groups did not say their freedom of religion was being restricted and stated that the extraordinary measures were necessary for public health
The report says the US Embassy officials engaged with Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and other religious representatives to discuss religious freedom, interreligious relations, and community engagement. “Topics included government tolerance of minority religious groups, the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on religious expression, and interfaith cooperation to address community challenges,” the report says.
The report says under its broader protections of freedom of conscience, the constitution provides for freedom of thought and religion, the right to change religion or belief, and the right to manifest and propagate religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice, and observance. It says the constitution’s provision of rights also prohibits discrimination based on creed.
The constitution permits the government to restrict these rights in the interest of protecting the rights of other persons, national defense, public safety, public order, public morality, or public health when the restrictions are deemed “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.” “The state of emergency imposed from March 2020 to September 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which capped the size of regular religious gatherings and meetings, was the first time the government ever exercised this provision,” the report says.