Tuesday, June 22, 2021

BPF getting impatient about People’s Court delay

The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is said to be greatly displeased about the pace at which the convening the People’s Court is moving and has toyed with the idea of going it alone.

Sunday Standard learns that the issue came up at a recent central committee meeting but there was realization even among the most impatient, that the party can’t speed up the process. While the idea germinated in the BPF, it lost full ownership over it when it sought the collaboration of other opposition parties, namely the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Alliance for Progressives (AP). The Court is being implemented through a nine-member working committee that is chaired by AP’s Major General Pius Mokgware. Mohwasa (UDC) is the Publicity Manager while the BPF’s Information and Publicity Secretary is the Logistics Coordinator. Additionally, each one of the three parties has two more representatives in the committee.

A BPF source says that the committee has all the information (including sworn affidavits) that would be required to make the case that the Botswana Democratic Party rigged the 2019 general election. When it finally sits, the People’s Court, which is a quasi-judicial forum, will hear evidence from a parade of witnesses who are said to have first-hand knowledge of how the BDP rigged the 2019 general election. Thus far, the Court has been postponed twice due to circumstances beyond the control of those managing its processes.

In the first instance, one of the lead participants (a senior lawyer long associated with opposition politics) had to attend to an urgent family matter. In the second, one of the main witnesses was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few days before the Court was to sit. While these were legitimate reasons for the postponement, the BPF is said to be champing at the bit. It was the party’s founder and patron, Ian Khama, who first claimed that the elections had been rigged a day after the final results were announced.

Last month, Mohwasa told Sunday Standard that the People’s Court will be held during the first quarter of the year – which ends on March 31.

However, Mohwasa’s own party is said to be divided on the issue. At a point where the current public health situation permits, the Botswana National Front will hold an elective national congress. Incumbent president, Duma Boko, will seek re-election against challenge from the vice president, Reverend Dr. Prince Dibeela. The latter is behind the Court all the way but the former is not. It has been claimed that there is fear in the Dibeela faction that the Court’s success could enhance Boko’s chances of being re-elected.

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