Monday, November 29, 2021

BDP’s Parks Tafa in war of words with F/town councillor

The Chairman of the Botswana Democratic Party’s electoral board, Parks Tafa, and former councillor and Francistown Deputy Mayoress, Lamodimo Dikomang, who were electoral officers during the Tonota North primary elections, are embroiled in a war of words over the election results.

The tension between the two, which had been simmering for days, burst into the open after a Friday press conference, at which Tafa expressed unhappiness with Dikomang’s conduct at the recent Tonota north primary elections.

While Tafa did not mention Dikomang by name, he hinted that, “she is a former councillor who was a deputy mayor at some town”.

Dikomang was allegedly part of a plot to topple Fidelis Molao and declare runner up Onkabetse Daniel the victor. Tafa said they realised that Molao’s ballots were not correctly tallied from the word go.

It later emerged that Molao was short-changed by a total of 270 votes. It was only through senior electoral officer Power Mmupi’s intervention that Daniel’s gains were reversed and the ballots recounted. But word had already leaked to the contestants that Daniel was the winner.
However, when the official results were announced, Molao led the pack with 778 votes, followed by Daniel with 534.

Tafa was not amused. “It is not clear if this was a deliberate effort or not. The electoral board relies on volunteers, and our relationship is based on trust. We do not expect dishonesty from any of our officers,” he said.

Dikomang later came forward with yet another electoral form, claiming that it had not been accounted for. The situation was saved when Mmopi realised that the polling form had only 22 votes. He decided to apportion the votes instead of ordering a recount.

Meanwhile, the losing candidates were clamouring for a recount, and they did not take kindly to Mmopi’s decision.

The losers later launched a protest with the electoral board. Even before the protest could be heard on Thursday, Tafa said he received information to the effect that someone would come forward claiming that she found a ballot box at the counting center, to which he replied “she must have smoked something”.

Ironically, it was Dikomang who later came forward with the claim.

“But she could not explain how she accessed the counting center as it was locked and guarded. She also failed to explain what she was doing there and why she took over a week to report the matter,” said Tafa.

The electoral board will launch a complaint against Dikomang with the central committee on Monday.
“We may have rules and regulations in place, but what we can never account for is dishonesty. That is why we also have prisons,” said Tafa in conclusion.

Dikomang, on the other hand, accused Mmopi and Tafa of flouting electoral regulations.
“When I told Mmopi about the form, he told me to shut up because Molao had already won the elections,” she said.

She then engaged in a shouting match with Mmopi in front of Francistown Regional chairman Botho Ntirang.

She decided to keep the form, but later misplaced it. It was only when she went to look for the form at the counting center that she chanced upon the additional ballot boxes. She says when she phoned Tafa he told her that President Khama had already informed him that someone would come up with similar claims.

She accused Tafa of flouting party regulations by airing the party’s dirty laundry in public.
“I was forced to respond to defend myself. Tafa is not BDP and he is not a member of the central committee. I am also going to write a letter to the central committee demanding a commission of enquiry into what transpired at the primary elections,” she said.

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