In a curious turn of events, hundreds of undistributed cards belonging to Botswana Democratic Party members who could not vote in the recent Block A (north of Dibete) primary elections because they did not have cards have been discovered. Tonota Police Station commander Superintendent Robson Maleka confirmed in an interview that his station is in possession of over 600 membership cards allegedly destined for BDP members at Ditladi ward in the Tati East constituency. Maleka said the cards were handed to his station immediately after the November 9 elections.
“I can confirm that over 600 BDP membership cards were handed to my police station immediately after the primaries. We currently do not know what to do with the cards. We are still waiting for the rightful claimant(s) as these are considered lost and found property. We are waiting for the BDP or their members to come forward and claim them”, said Maleka adding that although the cards are in their possession, they are not instituting any investigations because there is no complaint lodged with the police. He explained that the police are empowered to investigate offences that have been reported to them especially those that are covered by the law and in this particular instance they are not investigating anything but rather holding the cards pending claim by rightful owners.
Maleka added that if the cards are not claimed within 90 days, he will dispatch them to his superiors at district level. The station commander refused to disclose information regarding the source of the cards maintaining that such disclosure could be wrongly interpreted to mean that Botswana Police Service is meddling in partisan political which they are not allowed to.
“It has to be understood that as police officers, we are not allowed to partake in active party politics. It would seem that I am being economic with information. It is unfortunate because my hands are tied as this is purely a partisan political party issue. I am not allowed to enter into the sphere of partisan party politics. Had it not been for that I would gladly disclose further information and cooperate with you as I always do. The long and short of it is that those cards are currently in our possession pending delivery to the rightful claimant”, said Maleka. Ditladi ward chairperson Mogomotsi Khoti confirmed the incident explaining that the issue was reported to them by one of the contesting council candidates. He refused to name the candidate.
“We are writing to the concerned candidate to explain how the cards came into his possession. I am not aware that the cards were handed over to the police. The candidate wrote to us informing us that he was in possession of about 600 cards. In our letter we will request the candidate to hand the cards to the ward committee as he is the one who alerted us”, said Khoti adding that he has informed the branch committee about the issue.
However, in his protest letter, Chibuya Kutchwe who lost to former party chairman Samson Moyo Guma in the Tati East parliamentary race complained that while membership cards were supposed to be distributed by appointed distributors, that was not the case as some council candidates and their campaign teams distributed the cards against laid down rules. He alleged that in Siviya ward, one council candidate delivered membership cards to Masunga Senior Secondary students on November 7.
“The question is: how did he get those membership cards?” queried Kuchwe adding that there is a possibility that that council candidate might have had in his possession cards of people who were not on his camp.