BY THOBO MOTLHOKA
Kgomo e tshwarwa ka lenaka, motho o tshwarwa ka lefoko: These powerful words, spoken by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko in his closing remarks following his annihilation of Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Dumelang Saleshando in the 2014 Gabz FM Presidential Debates, may have come back to haunt him.
Boko’s own words are likely to get him struck off the voters roll for registering for the 2019 General Elections under an address where he is allegedly not resident.
The case was brought to the Magistrates court by one John Keemenao Siele represented by Advocate Sidney Pilane.
Central to their argument against Boko’s claim for residence is an answering affidavit where Boko himself denied having any lease agreement with the owner of the Gaborone Phase 2 property where the UDC Leader has registered for elections as his ‘principal residence’.
Information received by this publication indicates there was a tussle between Boko and the property owner, Sebala Mogwera Leshomo, over the former’s failure to pay rent.
According to court papers Leshomo entered into a lease agreement with Duma Boko & Co, who were at the time represented by the UDC Leader himself, being the Director.
The company were to use the property, Plot 19746 in Phase 2, as an office for a period of three years from October 1st2014 to September 30th 2017.
Following the expiry of the lease agreement Boko’s mother moved into the property after a request from one of Boko’s associates, Elliot Moshoke.
“I do confirm that Mr Duma Gideon Boko does not reside at Plot 19746, Phase 2, Gaborone,” Leshomo states in court papers. “I do confirm that I never had any lease agreement with Duma Boko for him to reside or occupy my place in his personal capacity.”
Crucial to the evidence presented against Boko are copies of a summons issued against the UDC Leader for rental arrears amounting to P117, 000 and an outstanding water bill of at least P11, 000 as at the date of issuing summons.
In a Memorandum of Appearance to Defend filed by Duma Boko & Co the UDC President denies the existence of any lease agreement between himself and Leshomo.
According court papers, dated May 27, 2019 Boko “denies there was lease agreement in place between the parties for the period September 2017 to date. Wherefore the defendant (Boko) prays that the case be dismissed with costs.”
It is against this piece of evidence that Siele and Pilane believe the UDC President should be struck of the voters roll. As a consequence should the court decision go against Boko, the opposition coalition leader will not be eligible to run for elections. Boko’s case is set to be heard in August.
Boko, Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolatlhe, AP Bonnington North candidate Kaelo Molefhe, and UDC parliamentary candidate for Gaborone North Haskings Nkaigwa are among a number of politicians who faced being struck off the 2019 Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) voters roll for violating the Electoral Act. The Electoral Act states that “a person shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which he or she has his or her residence, or if he or she has more than one residence in Botswana in the constituency in which he or she has his or her principal residence.”
Siele argues that Boko’s principal residence is in Tlokweng for which he is receiving a housing allowance from the National assembly.
Others also want Ndaba Gaolatlhe struck off the IEC roll and barred from contesting the elections for listing his residence as Plot 25569 Block 9, which is his Constituency office.
Should Boko and Gaolatlhe be removed from the roll, they would be barred from representing the UDC and AP as presidential candidates for the 2019 General Elections. This would leave the UDC position to either Dumelang Saleshando as the UDC Vice President or Prince Dibeela as the BNF President should the BNF insist on retaining the UDC presidency. The AP would be led by current Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi.