Thursday, September 24, 2020

BDP central committee to investigate truancy and factional bickering

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee sitting on Monday has reportedly resolved to send some high profile party leaders to investigate allegations of obstinacy and factional divisions in the party, especially after the recent district mayoral elections.

The BDP found itself torn asunder as factional fights took a toll on the party, with members defying the party caucus and voting for the opposition while some defiantly stood for mayoral elections even after the party caucus had identified candidates.

The party’s biggest upset came in Selibe Phikwe where newly elected mayor, Lekang Mukokomani, sent shockwaves through the BDP structures in the area, defying the party caucus’s decision to nominate Tebogo Matlhogonolo as mayor. During the elections, Mukokomani stood for the mayoral seat and trounced Matlhogonolo.

To add salt to injury, he later snubbed the BDP and cast his vote for Botswana Congress Party candidate Bathaedi Mponwane, effectively assuring him of the deputy mayoral seat. Deeply embarrassed by Mukokomani’s obstinacy, the central committee on Monday resolved to suspend him for two months pending a disciplinary hearing.

President Ian Khama is expected to write to Mukokomani this week informing him that he has been suspended from the party.

On the other hand, Vice President Momapti Merafhe has been sent to Francistown to investigate unbecoming conduct during the recent mayoral elections.

A barata-phathi lieutenant and former Wynter Mmolotsi campaign manager, Shadreck Nyeku, snatched the mayoral seat from the A-team, who had all along been controlling the Francistown City Council. The BDP was further ridiculed when some of the spoiled ballot papers bore statements like “No! No! No!” and “democracy in action”.

Satellite North councillor James Kgalajwe, who is associated with the A-team, further embarrassed the party when he defied the party caucus and contested the positions of mayor and deputy mayor. The BDP caucus had agreed on Nyeku and Stanley Masalila as mayor and deputy mayor respectively. After losing the mayoral seat Kgalajwe stood for the deputy mayoral seat, which he lost to Masalila. The regional committee then resolved to take him to task.

Deputy Secretary General Malebogo Kruger and party treasurer Satar Dada have also been sent to investigate reports that the Kweneng East constituency has been incapacitated after relationships between the area MP Moeng Pheto and some councillors in the constituency crumbled.

It is also understood that Kruger and Youth Wing Chairman Armstrong Dikgafela will travel to Harare-Zimbabwe next week to attend a ZANU PF congress slated for the 18th and 19th of December.

BDP Executive Secretary Comma Serema is reported to have warned the central committee that the ‘secret’ investigative team that was appointed by President Ian Khama to probe allegations that some central committee members and BDP MPs are colluding with the opposition is still going strong. So far the names of the investigators remain a guarded secret.

Sources from the meeting also revealed that the party has opted to refer its dispute with advocate Peter Collins to its lawyers Collins Newman. Collins has dragged the BDP to court demanding payment for a legal opinion on the proper interpretation of Khama’s powers under the BDP constitution. The BDP has refused to pay, saying banished Secretary General Gomolemo Motswaledi should foot the bill as he is the one who sought the opinion.

Contacted for comment, the party’s general secretary, Thato Kwerepe, pleaded ignorance, repeatedly answering, “I am not aware,” when quizzed by The Telegraph.

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