If the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) loses its appeals at the Court of Appeal (CoA), it may well find itself saddled with another uncertainty that could finally disqualify it from nominating Ignatius Moswaane from representing it in this year’s general election.
Although Moswaane convincingly won the fresh primaries in Francistown West following the recent court debacles, political and social commentators within and outside the party are nervous that on account of the previous resolution that the winner of a primary by-election is eligible to represent them at this year’s general election.
BDP is definitely faced with a mammoth task of averting the recurrence of the previous embarrassing disqualification it suffered and the onus rests on the April congress to resolve the Whyte Marobela case.
Failure to resolve the issue would be catastrophic if the party fails to field a candidate in the general election.
Non-representation in the past by-election was an embarrassment that the BDP will never forget.
To avoid being caught in a similar conundrum, the April congress will be seriously tasked to ventilate and resolve the Marobela protest and map a tangible way forward.
Commentators are of the view that the challenger of the initial primaries, Marobela could still insist that his protest has not been heard and lodge a fresh court application seeking the nullification of the recent fresh primaries.
Marobela is on record claiming that the party has not informed him about the fresh primaries of which he was not a participant.
The protester (Marobela) has admitted that he is aware that the party served his lawyer Obonye Jonas with an appeal that still has to be dispensed with by CoA pending his protest as he was never called to physically appear before the party leadership (appeal organ) and make representations over his grievances.
“For him, the fresh primaries are non-starter because he was not party to the deliberations that agreed on the fresh elections. In accordance with the rules of natural justice, you cannot resolve somebody’s case in his absence. It is a blunder that the BDP should not have committed. There is no proof whatsoever that the protest was ever discussed and resolved. Window dressing will not help the BDP because they are fighting a man who knows what he is up to. He is a fighter who does not easily give up although he will continue to laugh with them as if there is no issue at hand,” said the political commentator.
He added that Marobela is one person who asserts his rights to the end.
“He is extremely intelligent. He will guide his lawyer on the way forward and ensure that his aspiration is achieved. As an arbitrator in the construction industry, he is versed how the law works. Marobela is an arbitrator whose decisions have not been overturned by the courts. His knowledge of the law is impeccable and taking a short may prove another serious problem for the BDP. This is why he is steadfastly holding that the fresh primaries are non-starter. The BDP is better advised that it is dealing with a rich man who will not let them override him as they please,” said a social commentator.
Another political commentator who did not want to be identified holds the same view that the BDP should have physically engaged Marobela and impressed upon him stop fighting with the party because it is also not benefitting him in any way.
“They ought to smoke a peace pipe. They should resolve the issue to his favour. If they do not, he will assert his right and continue to fight them in the courts until after the general election. The BDP should simply promise him something that he will be comfortably with otherwise they must forget about fielding a candidate in the October general election. Alternatively the BDP should find a way of settling the matter out of the courts because Marobela will never let Moswaane represent the party. Party President Ian Khama should sit Marobela down and show him how these court battles are denting the integrity of the party with his relentless fights,” said the commentator adding that Khama must just promise him special election to parliament so as to diffuse the wrangling.
“Anything short of what Marobela wants will deal the BDP a serious blow. That is the way his way family deals with him because once he embarks on a fight, he does not easily give up. He is a man of such conviction that it is not easy to sway him from his stand view. Otherwise the BDP will be forced to be bold enough and chase him away from the party to avert further court clashes which are not doing the party any good,” said a social commentator who knows Marobela well.┬á