The Botswana Congress Party Central Committee is once again embroiled in a bitter struggle with yet another disgruntled member who is unhappy with the CC’s decision to disbar him from contesting the party primary elections.
BCP activist, Shine Ngakaetsile, has vowed to work day and night to ensure that the BCP’s preferred parliamentary candidate for Selibe Phikwe East, Nzwaligwa Nzwaligwa, loses the general elections in 2009.
Things came to a head when the BCP CC barred Ngakaetsile from contesting the Selibe-Phikwe East primary elections favouring, instead, Nzwaligwa Nzwaligwa.
Irked by the CC’s decision, Ngakaetsile took the party to court to seek redress. However, last week, Justice Zibani Makhwade overruled Ngakaetsile’s protest saying that he had failed to spell out exactly what his complaint was and how the CC had disenfranchised him. Justice Makhwade also said that Ngakaestsile had failed to show what Nzwaligwa had done to influence the decision of the CC, in turn, exactly what the CC had done that could be considered unprocedural. He, therefore, dismissed Ngakaetsile’s application with costs.
But despite the court’s decision, Ngakaetsile still maintains that he had been cheated and disenfranchised by the CC and has sworn that he will work day and night to make sure that Nzwaligwa does not win the parliamentary elections in the 2009 general elections.
Despite Ngaketsile’s utterances, the BCP CC still maintains a neutral stance and seems not to be ready to take action against him. BCP Secretary General, Taolo Lucas, told The Sunday Standard that they are aware of Ngakaetsile’s public utterances but will not take any action against him until they have sat him down and heard what he has to say.
“We still have to seek audience with Ngakaetsile to ask him to clarify the utterances that he made to the effect that he will decampaign the BCP in the general elections. Until then, we cannot take any action against him,” he said on Friday.
When asked if Ngakaetsile did not deserve any disciplinary action, especially after breaking the party rules and regulations by taking the party to court and then airing the party’s dirty laundry in public, Lucas still maintained that the CC can only make a conclusion after hearing Ngakaetsile’s side of the story.
He continued to say that they still consider Ngakaetsile to be a bona fide member of the BCP who is bound by the party rules and regulations and is therefore expected to work with other party cadres to ensure the success of the party in the 2009 general elections. He also said that he expects Ngakaetsile to abide by the court ruling as much as he (Ngakaetsile) would have expected BCP to abide by the ruling had he won the court battle.
But Ngakaetsile remains defiant and continues to maintain that, even though he has accepted the court ruling, he will not work with Nzwaligwa and, if anything, will work to ensure that he, and by extension, the BCP, fails to win the Phikwe East constituency in the coming general elections.
“I feel very sabotaged and betrayed by my fellow comrades who took away what I have worked so hard for and gave it to a less deserving friend of theirs,” he told The Sunday Standard. He continued to say that he will have to consult with his supporters in the constituency to map the way forward, adding that he does not rule out the possibility of standing as an independent parliamentary candidate.
”To me, the whole objective is to ensure that Nzwaligwa does not win that constituency,” he said.
Ngakaetsile also said that the BCP CC has created factions within the party and there exists an elite group of party members, of which Nzwaligwa is a member, who are not supposed to be challenged in the party primary elections.
“There is a group of elite BCP members most of them in the CC who have decided to deny us our democratic right of challenging them in the party primaries. If you look closely, you will see what I am talking about. It is clear that the CC had already made a decision to disbar me from contesting against Nzwaligwa. But I will continue to fight for what is right,” he concluded.
It is not the first time that the BCP has been embroiled in controversies surrounding the allocation of constituencies. The BCP candidate for Francistown West constituency, Whyte Marobela, last year threatened to take the party to court in protest against the CC’s decision to overlook him and award the constituency to their pact partner (BAM) candidate, Matlhomola Modise.