Monday, October 26, 2020

Judge to rule this week in BNF Council candidates’ case

The fate of Matthews Tshotlelo as a Council candidate, along with six others, in the coming general elections will be decided by acting judge Gabriel Rwelengera on 25 August in the Lobatse High Court.

Tshotlelo is currently serving a three-month civil imprisonment stint for failing to pay a debt of P24, 000 that he owes one Solomon Diphoko.
The Botswana National Front nominated seven members as council candidates in place of those who had won the primaries but rejected by the party.
This follows after the party members won primary elections as council candidates but their election was nullified by the party.

The winners then challenged the party in court.

They are Gofaone Kedise, Simon Kgosi, Tiroyaone Khankhunzi and Batsile Dirame, who were barred from contesting a rerun of primary elections on allegations of irregularities during the first elections.

On the other hand, Bobi Ntekere and Elisa Raphala were barred from contesting on allegations that they were members of PUSO.

Making his submissions in the case, the attorney representing the applicants, Joba Nnoi, said that all the applicants in this matter had been replaced by those who had lost the primary elections.

Nnoi urged the judge to rule in favour of his clients as, in some cases, protests against their election were filed out of time set by law.

Besides that, he said that there were cases that were not filed at all.
The applicants’ attorney also said that the applicants had a right to tell the Botswana National Front that only successful candidates should stand as candidates for the party and that the BNF projected itself as struggling for genuine democracy but that such was unachievable where democracy was undermined.

He said under normal circumstances, a writ of elections should have been issued after the expulsion of Nehemiah Modubule, the current Member of Parliament for Lobatse from his office and that the party should not have declared Otlaadisa Keosaletse a parliamentary candidate as had been done.

Nnoi said that once a writ of elections had been issued, members would decide whether to stand for primary elections or not and that there was a need for writ to have been issued as there was no provision for replacing a successful candidate with a second best one in the party’s rules and regulations.

This, he submitted, meant that Koosaletse’s candidature was unlawful, null and void. Further, he said that the BNF regulations provided for a bye election and not a rerun.

Opposing the application, the party’s president, Otsweletse Moupo, who had been empowered by the party’s central Committee to represent the party in this matter, dismissed the applicants’ submissions, saying that they were rather political and not legal.

He said that what they were doing was asking for opinion from the Court.
On the issue regarding the writ of elections, Moupo submitted that it was issued in October 2007 and that a fresh one could not have been issued as they were not dealing with fresh elections. He further submitted that where there is a rerun, only candidates who have shown an interest when the writ was first issued in 2007 were considered for a rerun.

Moupo said that the application was a disguised way of launching an application on behalf of Modubule, who has been dismissed from the party.

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