Few months from Serowe North primary elections which were full of controversy, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is snowed under petitions from its council candidates who are unhappy with the way the party dealt with appeals from their wards. Sunday Standard is in possession of petitions from two wards in Mahalapye West constituency in which the complainants who had won the primary elections are querying the party office’s decision to entertain appeals from losers although they were never notified of such appeals as the party primary rules and regulations requires.
Neo Keikgopotse and Gabogaisanye Malele from Mahalapye North ward and Madiba Ward respectively complain of flagrant disregard of party regulations pertaining to primary elections. “I have recently learnt that on Sunday 12th January the committee appointed by the Central Committee heard some appeal arising from the regions. I have learnt that an appeal was heard concerning the ward which I have been declared the winner. I wish to advise as follows; as the winner of the elections, I never received the notice of the appeal in terms of regulation 12(C) (ii) of the bulela ditswe regulations…” states the two similarly worded letters authored by the duo. Keikgopotse and Malele spelled out regulations 12(C) (ii) which reads, “The said notice of appeal shall set forth clearly and in detail, the irregularities alleged to have been committed, and/ or the reasons for his or her complaint. A copy of such ground shall be furnished to any person who may be affected by the appeal.
The regional committee shall verify whether the appellant has sent a copy of the petition to the respondent.” Keikgopotse and Malele said they have never received any notice of appeal and consequently there can never be any hearing. They said they were never invited to any hearing on the matter by the regional committee and they do not know of any hearing pertaining to their wards. “I contend that no hearing could be held as there was never any notice of appeal and as a participant and the declared winner I was not involved. If any appeal was heard then it was a nullity and remains such.” The duo also complains that they were not invited to the hearing held at Tsholetsa Office on Sunday 12th January that was convened by the special appeals board.
“I have learnt that the Appeals Board listened to the testimony of those who lost the said elections. Such a hearing is irregular and unlawful. It is not just in breach of the BDP bulela ditswe regulations and ordinary rules of natural justice. Indeed it is in breach of our own Tswana code of justice as practiced in our dikgotla to the effect that merogolwane ya tsatsing e kgonwa ke go lela e lebaganye.” The two also say that the party rules and regulations provides that appeals shall be lodged seven days after the primary elections date, they say seven days has long passed as elections were held on 9th December 2013 therefore the losers have lost their opportunity.
“It is my humble submission and prayer that if any recommendation is or has been placed before the central committee for consideration and/or endorsement pertaining to any appeal or any kind it must be rejected,” pleads the duo. Efforts to contact the BDP secretary general, Mpho Balopi were unsuccessful as his mobile phone rang unanswered. The deputy executive secretary of the BDP, Lee Lesetedi refused to be dragged into the matter. He only confirmed that there will be re-runs in Mahalapye West constituency and in three wards. “The appeal process is still underway. All those who have submitted complaints will be replied to in a formal way.”