Minister of Lands and Housing Lebonamang Mokalake says former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman Samson Guma Moyo may have orchestrated his defeat during the BDP primary elections held late last year. Mokalake lost to Sethomo Lelatisitswe in the Boteti East primary elections.
The two men registered 1 460 and 1 324 respectively. In a letter dated 18 December and titled “Boteti East Appeal” Mokalake states that the region’s secretary, Sonic Thobokwe was a campaign manager for “Guma (a few months ago) for the Maun elections (BDP Congress) and he was responsible for the region.”
“Since Guma is allegedly implicated in the scheme, I do not know what this time around will make me trust that he was not involved,” states Mokalake in his letter.
Although rumours have been flying fast and thick that Guma engineered the fall of a number of cabinet ministers during the recent BDP primary elections, no one has come up with evidence to prove the allegations. Guma has also gone on record denying the allegations.
In his resignation letter late last year, Guma indicated that he decided to leave the party chairmanship because of the “pain and embarrassment” he had suffered following recent media reports that he was orchestrating a scheme to undermine and subvert government as well as frustrate President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s succession plan with foreign countries he did not mention. According to Mokalake, “inside information about our appeals have turned up in places like Orapa, Mahalapye, Metsimotlhabe, Serowe and of course within the constituency and collectively the regional committee has to account and they cannot play the role of referees in the own game…”
The Minister called for investigations regarding the Boteti East appeals to be transferred to the Central Committee saying almost all members of the Regional Committee handling the appeals are conflicted and not competent to adjudicate on the appeals.
He said the issue of conflict of interest was brought to regional committee members’ knowledge but none declared any potential conflict of interest. Mokalake says Bethel Mechunamunye (Regional Vice Secretary) is a well know sympathiser and member of Sethomo Lelatisitswe campaign syndicate; his involvement in the campaign before and after he joined the Regional Committee is known. Mokalake also accuses regional chairman, Masole Masole of divulging contents of his letter to some members of the public even before he was called for interviews.
Another candidate who lost the primary elections Oboetswe Gabotale has also lodged a protest saying the elections were marred by a number of irregularities. He said names of eligible electorates were omitted from the final voters roll that was used during elections adding that the error was aggravated further by the fact that the final draft of the voters roll was not availed to candidates for inspection before election date. He added that there was a substantial number of candidates who turned up to cast their votes but their names were not in the voters roll.
But the winner, Lelatisitswe has objected to the appeals by the two men on the grounds that he was not furnished with the letters of appeal saying the necessary procedure was not followed. “The returning/presiding officer in front of magnitudes and different media houses declared me as the winner of the primary elections, without any intention not to accept the results, the two candidates stood up from their seats unescorted by their wives to hug me, cementing their acceptance of their results,” said Lelatisitswe.
He said Mokalake’s letter was lodged to the chairman on the 20th November 2013 while he was very much aware that the deadline for his appeal was on the 16th November 2013; meaning that, his letter was lodged outside the stipulated time in accordance with article 12(c) (i) BDP regulations for conduct of Primary elections.
He said Mokalake who is a fellow party man, in writing the letter, was driven by spite, “and was being a sour loser.” “Despite this, the regional committee which he very much discredits, on the 18th November 2013 brought together all protest letters and scheduled dates for hearing and his letter was not there,” said Lelatisitswe.
He added that it came as a shock to the regional chairman Masole and Mechunamunye(Vice Secretary) when they received an email from the regional officer Mr Sonic (who is a close friend of Mr Mokalake) claiming that the letter had been emailed to him on the 15th November and he had not checked his email since. What might be surprising is the lack of interest by Mr Mokalake to see to it that his so called letter has arrived on time. Turning to Gabotale’s letter of protest, Lelatisitswe said it is not only vague but raises concerns that were raised country wide during the elections, which the central committee is trying to resolve.
“In relation to the non-verification of trafficking of voters, this is not an issue that should be addressed by me as I was a mere candidate in the elections as much as Mr Gabotale was. If he was genuine about his concern of voters trafficking he should have raised the issue before the elections,” said Lelatsisitswe.