Raj Rathedi, an active member of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) for the past nine years, has confirmed to the Sunday Standard to having been amongst the prominent politicians who voted for the BNF candidate who stood for the Village Ward elections, Kagiso Ntime, while he was still a member of the BCP.
Two weeks ago, the Sunday Standard ran an article in which Ntime indicated that some well-known activists from other political parties, including the Botswana Democratic Party, had promised to vote for him because they believed in his capabilities as a candidate.
The BNF youth, however, refused to state any names as he claimed to have promised anonymity.
Upon investigation into the matter, the Sunday Standard found that Rathedi resigned around the 12th of November, a time when the Village Ward elections saga had quietened down.
It was also reported that Rathedi had voted for Ntime, even though his own party, the BCP, had a candidate standing for the position.
In his defence, Rathedi claims to have never hidden from the BCP Central Committee the fact that he voted for a member of the BNF because, he said, he is a man of principle.
In his narration to justify his act, Rathedi lamented that during the general elections in 2004, while he was still an ordinary member of the party, he had grown to respect that he was amongst one of the people who worked extremely hard to get BCP Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central, Dumelang Saleshando, into parliament.
To date, Saleshando is the only MP representing the BCP.
“As a UB employee, I was exposed to people from different parties, especially the BNF, who had a lot of trust in my judgments. After a number of consultations, I managed to convince them to vote for Saleshando in exchange for a few votes from the BCP for Ramaotwana during the Village Ward elections,” says Rathedi.
Rathedi implies that the only reason he voted for Ntime was because Ramaotwana had left without finishing his term, so he felt the term still belonged to the BNF because Ntime was going to continue with the same initiatives carried out by his former party politician.
“I was hoping that the BCP would not field a candidate for the ward, but unfortunately they did, and I told them that my conscience wouldn’t allow me to vote for our candidate because that would be breaking a promise that was made in good faith,” says Rathedi.
Speculation doing the rounds was that Rathedi had voted for the BNF candidate because he had already made the decision to defect to the BNF and had, therefore, betrayed his followers.
Rathedi says that he still abides by the reasons he stated in his letter of resignation, dated 12th November, in which he claimed that he defected from the BCP purely because of personal reasons which he could not reveal as yet.