Thursday, March 4, 2021

BDP’s Gaborone Region swamped by election protests

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party has received an avalanche of complaints from last week party primary elections in Gaborone region as the Democrats smarts from a another controversial parliamentary and council vote.

BDP held Block A party primary elections North of Dibete recently, marred with allegations of fraud and threat for a re-run and even the move for the losing candidates to become independent candidates. Though much better, Block B in the south has not been free of controversy. Losers complain of exclusion of names of their potential voters from the voter’s roll, exacerbated by the recent government decision to bar civil servants from participating in the vote.

“I could not now state the number of complaints I have received so far…but they go as far as more than 20,” said the Secretary of BDP Gaborone Regional Office Ontibile Kgomoyarona. Kgomoyarona could not doubt the number spiraling as the deadline for complaints end midnight Saturday. “Sunday morning I will not accept any complaints as the candidates have been given 7 days to lodge their cases,” he added. Gaborone region has for years been the stronghold for the opposition Botswana National Front. Although Kgomoyarona will not be dragged into discussing names of the disgruntled candidates, Sunday Standard understands Robert Molefabangwe has filed a compliant with the Gaborone region. Former BNF Member of Parliament contested the recently demarcated Gaborone North Bonington constituency parliamentary seat.

Also complaining is Lebogang Masope in Gaborone Central constituency which was won by Kgomotso Mogapi by 3 votes, beating her next trailing contender. Candidates in the constituency complain of their possible voters disfranchised because their names were not available in the voters roll. Ironically some 5 civil servants sneaked into the polling station to cast their votes, Sunday Standard investigations can reveal.

Kgomoyarona would not admit nor deny the allegations, saying should their investigations point to the affirmative the Gaborone Central constituency could go for a re-run. “Should the complaints implicate the party leadership we will refer the matters to the Central Committee,” he added. Candidates unable to reconcile with Gaborone Regional Office will have to appeal to the BDP Central Committee- the supreme and final body.

“They have the final decision,” Kgomoyarona said, distancing his office from the prospects of independent candidates emerging out as a result of their decision. He is not alarmed by the complaints raised so far as during the previous vote 2008 candidates were unopposed in the Gaborone region. Targeting the constituencies, party president Ian Khama called for the prospective candidates to compromise for a single candidate which nearly paid off to avoid confrontations. BDP went to win all parliamentary constituencies except one- Gaborone Central currently under the hands of BCP for two consecutive time.

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