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Member of Parliament for Serowe West Tshekedi Khama is likely to be suspended or expelled from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) following his loss at the Lobatse High Court on Friday. Tshekedi had taken the party to court accusing the BDP of failing to take appropriate action against one of his opponents in yesterday’s Bulela Ditswe primary elections, Moemedi Dijeng.
BDP Secretary General Mpho told Sunday Standard following the ruling that Tshekedi is likely to face the music for bringing the party into disrepute.
“I have yet to review the court ruling but what I can say is that we have internal processes that have to be followed by our members failing which the appropriate disciplinary proceedings shall be taken.” He said there was the likelihood of action being taken against Tshekedi for dragging the party to court.
“We have seen in the past where certain members of the party had taken the party to court resulting devastating penalties against such individuals. We will be guided by such precedents when dealing with this particular case,” Balopi said, adding that he was however not at liberty to discuss the specific actions likely to be taken against Tshekedi.
The party is likely to draw from the precedent set by Tshekedi’s own brother, Ian Khama, in 2009 when he suspended the then BDP Secretary General, the late Gomolemo Motswaledi, for five years following the latter’s decision to challenge a 60 day suspension imposed on him by Khama, then BDP President, at the same Lobatse High Court.
Motswaledi had also lost the case. He had initially been suspended for defying party president, Khama. Tshekedi, through his lawyer Clement Jabulani Mazhinge, filed an application indicating his intention to move the court on urgency challenging the decision of the BDP Central Committee’s approval of Dijeng’s candidacy despite being found guilty by the Disciplinary Committee (DC) of contravening the party’s Regulations on the Conduct of Primary Elections.
In their response the BDP represented by Basimane Bogopa argued that while Dijeng had been found guilty for breach of Regulations relating to Primary Elections he had already been punished accordingly.
“By vetting a party member out solely on the basis of a past conviction amounts to imposing a second punishment on that individual. This will amount to a double punishment,” the party argued in defense.
In his ruling Justice Modiri Letsididi said there was nothing unlawful and illegal about the BDP Central Committee’s decision to approve Dijeng’s candidacy for the party’s primary elections.
“Having considered the provisions of the relevant regulations …I have arrived to the inexorable conclusion that the ruling that the prospective candidate (Dijeng) has failed to comply with party procedures, regulations, and guidelines and therefore stands to be disqualified must not be made by the Disciplinary Committee as submitted by the applicant (Tshekedi) but by the Brunch Committee have been disproved ... To argue otherwise is to miss the point as intended by the regulations… As a result the application stands to be dismissed with costs,” Justice Letsididi ruled. Dijeng was represented by Unoda Mack. By the time of going to press Tshekedi, Dijeng , and Keletso Rakhudu were to contest the Serowe West constituency yesterday (Saturday ,August 25) with other BDP primary elections scheduled to take place at the same time around the country.