A Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillor and a party executive were on Monday engaged in a fist fight as campaign for the party’s national congress slated for Mmadinare village on the 3rd of July intensifies.
Boseja South councillor Nico Folae and Maun East Youth Secretary Oarabile Johannes exchanged blows at a local primary school on Sunday afternoon where an elective branch congress was to be held. This was also a day after Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi had a closed door meeting with Maun East constituencies to solicit support ahead of the National congress.
“To date I still don’t know why Folae attacked me. I guess the mistake that I made was questioning some irregularities relating to the delayed congress. I had questioned why people had still not shown up as it was getting late, only to be told that he had cancelled it,” said Johannes.
He added “I wondered how that could have been possible because he has no powers to do such. I was also told that he had been seen hiding somewhere within the school premises and that he had been sending people back home. That to me was immature, taking into account that there is little time left before the national congress. He should have formally told us well in time because this wasn’t an emergency.”
It has since emerged that there is serious tension between supporters of Masisi versus Tati West MP Biggie Butale.
Johannes said while he was conversing with equally confused members, Folae pounced on him and beat him up. “Folae squeezed my neck very hard that I nearly passed out. I was rescued by one party elder but the visibly enraged Folae came back again and fought me in full view of party members,” said Johannes.
Johannes said the branch chairman learnt about the fight and “we were called to order and the matter was put to rest. However I was infuriated by Folae’s boasting as he went around telling people that he had taught me a lesson, that’s why I reported the matter to the police.”
Johannes went on to say they later learnt that the reason why Folae had called off the branch congress was because him and his team had failed to mobilise delegates and were therefore not prepared to take part in branch elections.
Meanwhile Folae has denied the accusations levelled against him. He also denied laying a hand on Johannes whom he describes as “big headed”.
“That young man has something against me. He is disrespectful and wants to discredit me whenever he sees an opportunity. He did the same even last year ahead of the primary elections, and so I am less interested in commenting on this one because there is no truth in it,” said Folae.
He added that “Mind you, he even appeared at the Saturday meeting and started pointing fingers at the VP, telling him he had arrived late and so forth. He was nowhere to be found when the VP wanted to respond to his concerns. Who does that to his superiors? I guess he is not in his right mind,” said Folae.
However Folae admitted that he suggested the congress be postponed as there had been poor planning. He said as is procedure, each and every ward has to hold their mini congresses before going to branch level where a total of eight people are randomly elected to represent the constituency at the National Congress.
Maun police Assistant Superintendent Boreteletse Papani confirmed that a case of assault has been reported to them and that it is still a fresh matter that is still being investigated. Maun East has eleven wards that stretch from Phuduhudu to Khwai, and it is in these eleven wards where only eight representatives will be elected.