Monday, May 17, 2021

BDP used DISS to conceal irregularities in IEC voters roll ÔÇô court records

Documents passed to the Sunday Standard have revealed how the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) allegedly used the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) to conceal irregularities in the Independent electoral Commission(IEC) voters roll and how Botswana came close to a hung parliament. A confidential research paper compiled by BDP in the run up to the 2014 general elections has revealed that opposition almost won 29 constituencies which would have resulted in a hung parliament. Noroc Technologies which had been commissioned by the BDP to conduct the study identified 23 constituencies which the party was likely to lose pointing the party to vulnerable constituencies to concentrate its efforts.

Although the BDP managed to rescue some of the constituencies it was destined to lose, it lost six more constituencies which it believed it would win. Had the BDP lost the 23 constituencies and the additional six it believed it would win but ultimately lost, the combined opposition seats in Parliament would be 29 resulting in a hung parliament. The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) had already agreed to form a coalition government in the event of a hung parliament, pushing the BDP out of power.

Among the constituencies that the BDP was worried it would lose, but managed to save are Moshupa ÔÇô Manyana whose area MP is vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, another constituency which the party was worried it was likely to lose but also managed to rescue is Selibe-Phikwe East whose area MP is Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Nonofo Molefhi. The confidential report which used the Independent electoral Commission voters roll and the BDP voters roll also revealed that Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane was likely to lose his Boteti west constituency to opposition, Tsogwane’s deputy France Van Der Westhuisen who is also MP for Kgalagadi South was also among those who were tipped to lose and were apparently saved by the BDP last push to rescue vulnerable constituencies.

Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Alfred Madigele was also expected to lose his Mmathethe- Molapowabojang constituency to the opposition. The only minister who it was predicted would lose the election and the party failed to save was Minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila who lost the Goodhope- Mabule constituency to UDC’s James Mathokgwane. Court records filed by Noroc Technologies state that the BDP leadership wanted the report kept secret because “it showed that the party was going to perform dismally at the polls.”

Indications are that the BDP wanted to keep the impression that it was going to win with a comfortable margin and even planted a story in a local newspaper lying that the report had revealed that they would win by a majority of more than 50%. The court records further states: “publication of this report was deemed sensitive because it was capable of showing certain irregularities in the voter registration for purposes of 2014 general elections as carried out by the Independent Electoral Commission in some constituencies as well as the irregularities in the party primary elections.”

The BDP allegedly refused to pay Noroc Technologies for the work it did for the party in the run up to the elections because they believed the company had withheld sensitive information which the party wanted kept from the public. In his affidavit Noroc Technologies director, Frederick Mathibe states that, “in my considered view, I came close to the conclusion that possession of this information as referred to above posed a serious danger to my life, especially when respondent (Monty Chiepe) was to later tell me that the DISS Director General, Isaac Kgosi is demanding that I handover all information I may have on the BDP to the party.”

BDP secretary General, Mpho Balopi was quoted in a local newspaper denying that the party ever did any business with Noroc Technologies. Sunday Standard investigations have however established that the BDP website links to party constituency websites and all of them have a footnote at the bottom stating: “developed by Noroc Technologies.” The directors of Noroc Technologies, Mathibe and Temo Tau have been hiding at a lodge in Gaborone because they fear for their lives.

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