In a surprise move by the Botswana National Front’s disciplinary committee, the party has called six of its Lobatse councilors, whom Lobatse High Court judge, Gabriel Rwelengera, recently ruled were the rightful party’s contestants in the coming general elections, for a disciplinary hearing.
Rwelengera also agreed with the submission made by their lawyer, Joba Nnoi, that there was no provision in BNF’s provisions for replacing a successful candidate with the second best and that BNF’s Rules and Regulations only provide for a by-election, and not a rerun which had been conducted to replace the councilors who had won.
The six councilors called for a hearing are Bobby Raphala, Gofaone Kedise, Simon Kgosi, Tiroyaone Khakhunzi, Elisa Ntereke and Batsile Dirame.
The charges are that they had conducted themselves in a manner contrary to the BNF Code of Discipline and Procedure and to the BNF Rules and regulations relating to the selection of Parliamentary and Local Government Candidates.
Their counts are as follows:
Count 1.That they acted in collaboration with a political organisation other than a party in group membership with the BNF, and in a manner contrary to the aims, policies and objectives of the BNF. The particulars of the charge are that the accused persons, on different dates between 1 May 2009 and September 6 2009, had been actively canvassing for support or working to advance the political programme of Nehemia Modubule, a leader of PUSO (United Socialist Party), which has since been expelled from BNF thereby “acting in collaboration with a political organisation or party other than a group membership with BNF contrary to aims and objectives of the BNF”.
Count 2. They are facing charges of having displayed disloyalty to the party, contrary to Clause 7 of the BNF Rules and Regulations relating to the selection of Parliamentary and Local Government candidates. The particulars of this charge are that the accused persons had, on a date unknown, registered with the Independent Electoral Commission as independent candidates, thereby displaying disloyalty to the party.
Responding to the charges labeled against them, the councilors requested, on the first count, to be given information on which organization they are alleged to have collaborated with and which BNF policies and objectives they allegedly contravened by such collaboration.
They demanded that they be given information on which BNF policies are in conflict with those of PUSO and how they are alleged to have canvassed support for Modubule and the location and time when they did that.
Further, they demanded to be given information on Modubule’s political programme they are advancing.
On count two, the accused are demanding whether the BNF has a lawfully selected candidate for the respective wards at the material time and, if the answer is yes, who those candidates are and how it is alleged such candidates were lawfully selected.
They also want to know whether they are still registered as independent candidates and whether they are still subject to the disciplinary code of the BNF.
If it is true that they are still subject to the disciplinary code of the BNF, they want to know on what basis they are alleged to be still subject to the BNF disciplinary code.
In a related case, BNF Secretary General, Mahommed Khan, recently announced that there will be a late parliamentary elections rerun in Gaborone North. This came after a Gaborone North constituency candidate, Gabriel Kanjabanga, had lost, with costs, a Court case in which he had wanted to be declared the only contestant in the constituency.