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BDP suspended executives face purge

Publishing Date : 08 October, 2018

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s two suspended executives faces expulsion from the party, after the duo exposed plans to rig the Kgalagadi North elections in favour of incumbent, Itumeleng Moipisi ahead of party primaries in July this year.


According to information gathered by this publication, in a bid to protect President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s blue-eyed boys, the party secretariat conspired to have names of members believed to be sympathetic to Talinta Monnakgotla removed from the voters roll. Although Monnakgotla was the target, and had 250 names of people sympathetic to her removed from the voter roll, she triumphed against Moipisi in the party primaries.


Following the accusation leveled against the two employees, the party central committee dispatched a task team led Dr Lemogang Kwapa, party parliamentary candidate for Kanye South, to investigate the allegations. WeekendPost has been informed by insiders that Dr Kwapa’s exercise was an academic exercise aimed at legitimising the actions of those who wanted to bring down Monnakgotla, also to legitmise the imminent expulsion of the two suspended party executives.


“Now therein lies two issues, who can with confidence claim that they know everyone. It is hogwash,” said an insider. “Only eight were reinstated. The sub-plot to removing names as to disadvantage Talita Monnakgotla. Even Talita’s mother and biological sisters were removed.” The source further revealed to this publication that it would be unfair for the party to expel the suspended executives simply because they refused to play to the gallery.


WeekendPost was also informed that the conspiracy was sponsored by some in the central committee, with two prominent names being associated with the move. According to the charge sheet, written to one of the suspended executives, party Executive Secretary, Merapelo Moloise state that: “It is alleged that while you were assigned to capture corrections after verification process had been completed by various PEEC Deployee you received the lists for blacklisting for Kang North Ward and Kang South Ward from One Montshiwa and proceeded to call the Ward secretaries and enquired about the lists. This action was non-compliant with operations procedure and negligent.”


Although the suspended employees are on full pay, justice has not been forthcoming. The scheduled disciplinary hearing for the two has been postponed on several occasions. One of the accused has also accused the BDP Executive Secretary of witch-hunt in letter date 14 September 2018 responding to the Moloise’s charge sheet.


“I wish to highlight what I perceive as prejudice by the Executive Secretary. You led in my suspension. The Executive Secretary is the one who has decided that the said allegations are sufficient to charge me. Assuming a negative outcome, it would be expected of me to appeal to you as the highest ranking officer in the administrative structures of Botswana Democratic Party. Potential prejudice   is perceived,” said the complainant.


“By playing the different roles, the Executive Secretary might be unable to make impartial assessment on the probabilities of the case she was so intrinsically involved with the facts of the case before the hearing started.” The suspended executive stated that he will lead the evidence regarding Moloise’s impartiality in the process even at later stage of dispute resolution.

BULELA DITSWE CONUNDRUM CONTINUES

The party primary election system, which was introduced for the first time ahead of 2004 general elections, replacing the vulnerable Committee of 18, has also proved to be problematic. A re-run held recently at Lentsweleta-Mmopane  proved that indeed the system is being manipulated. Incumbent Vincent Seretse had won the constituency, but stashed box of ballot papers was later discovered, necessitating a re-run. Nnaniki Makwija won the resultant re-run.  

Scores of defeated incumbents have also lodged complaints, citing irregularities in recent elections.  It is believed that the party’s 2014 general elections dismal performance was partly due to how the elections were conducted.  Bulela Ditswe created a rift between contestants in 2013 leading to significant number of candidates contesting elections as independent candidates.


The BDP had one of the worst electoral performances in 2017, losing an unprecedented 20 seats to combined opposition in 2014. The party’s popular vote plummeted to below 50 percent for the first time since 1965. Following disastrous performance BDP Central Committee tasked party veteran and former cabinet minister Peter Siele to lead a commission that would investigate the niggling primary elections and offer recommendations to the party


Siele was tasked with look at among others; if the system of Bulela Ditswe still working for the BDP; Why were there so manyproblems; the nature of these problems; whether the system can be fixed and how and if the party still had to continue with it, and if not what is the alternative that can be pursued to unite the party. According to Siele report, during the 2013 Bulela Ditswe season, a record 108 complaints were registered with the party about the manner in which party primaries were conducted.


The findings of Siele commission were shared with the BDP central committee later and the recommendations are discussed at the 2015 Mmadinare Congress. The party resolved to retain Bulela Ditswe system nevertheless. The current problems, which have led to the suspension of the two employees, were raised by the Siele Report. Siele said the success of any election is dependent on having a credible voters’ roll with full security features.


According to Siele Report the voters roll lacked secure features and dishonest officials included and removed people freely. Other findings were that some candidates were denied access to the voters’ rolls while some were favoured. Bulela Ditswe was introduced in 2003, ahead of the 2004 general elections in the aftermath of the increase in the number of constituencies. This saw the party doing away with the committee of 18, which was initially the organ responsible for choosing a candidate who would contest a particular constituency or ward.

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