Sunday, June 23, 2024

BDP split in Lobatse gives BNF hope

Following a complaint by some Botswana Democratic Party members that Lobatse parliamentary candidate Moggie Mbaakanyi threw a victory party against party rules, Sunday Standard learns that she has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The matter was handled by the Southern Regional Committee which came to the conclusion that it is “very difficult to call what happened at the Mbaakanyis a victory celebration. It has not been possible to find infringement of any Bulela Ditswe regulations on that day. The Committee accepts the results of the elections as they stand.”

There are contradictory accounts with regard to what happened at the Mbaakanyi’s palatial home on December 9 last year. A group of party members who include five councillors allege that, contrary to the primary elections regulations which forbid victory celebrations, Mbaakanyi threw a party a day after she won. She is supposed to have treated some 29 supporters to a feast that was awash with different kinds of alcoholic beverages.

On the other hand, Mbaakanyi stated that she was merely feeding a group of party activists who had participated in the previous day’s election in various capacities. She explained that the drinking of alcohol in her house is commonplace as she has a well-stocked bar that even the complainants themselves have benefited from. She further suggested that the simple lunch she hosted fell short of the legendary partying standards of the Mbaakanyis which the complainants themselves are familiar with.

Had the regional committee upheld the complaint, the Lobatse constituency would, like Palapye, be preparing for a re-run of its primary elections. In terms of the party’s Code of Conduct for Primary Elections, “pre and post primary elections celebrations of any kind are prohibited” and the penalty for such transgression is disqualification.
More importantly, the Lobatse problem goes beyond what did or did not happen on December 19 at Mbaakanyi’s house. Instead of swilling different kinds of alcohol from Mbaakanyi’s well-stocked bar, the Lobatse branch may find it worthwhile to smoke the peace pipe. The level of this animosity towards each other necessarily requires bales and bales of tobacco because the smoking could take a bit of time.

The regional committee has implored the aggrieved to “come together and work for the common good of BDP and win that constituency during 2009 elections. We thank you in the name of Domkrag!”

Coming together in the name of Domkrag has yet to happen and that raises the question of how well prepared the party is to reclaim the Lobatse seat which it lost in 1994 to the Botswana National Front. Mbaakanyi herself has complained to the regional committee that a group of her detractors have vowed to ensure that she loses in the 2009 elections as she did in 2004. She has implicated Lobatse mayor Legodile Serema, whom she beat in the primaries, for fuelling this feud. Serema was among those who complained to the regional committee about the alleged merrymaking at Mbaakanyi’s house.

Mbaakanyi alleges that Serema & Co. have been working against her prior to the primary election that she ended up winning. She further claims that this group has been holding meetings to plot how they can ensure that she and her supporters lose in next year’s elections.


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