Former Botswana National Front political ideologue and Francistown South independent parliamentary candidate, Elmon Tafa’s integrity and honesty have been called into question after he was found to have knowingly given an electoral officer false information.
Senior Magistrate, Peggy Madumane, last week dampened Tafa’s prospects in Francistown South when she issued a court order annulling his voter registration in the constituency after he was found to have cited an undeveloped commercial plot as his place of residence.
The annulment came after Tafa was dragged before the courts of law by former political ally and BNF comrade, Chingombe Modikwa, for having flouted the electoral act by citing an undeveloped business plot number 13973 as his place of residence when registering for the 2009 general elections in Francistown South.
Tafa fell out with Chingombe who is himself a BNF council candidate in Francistown South when he broke ranks with BNF President Otsweletse Moupo and openly castigated him in public. Tafa was subsequently dismissed from the BNF and he will be standing as an independent candidate under the temporary platform, a secessionist group that he formed with fellow dismissed comrades Nehemiah Modubule, Akanyang Magama and Dr. Lebohang Letsie.
In his submissions, Modikwa pleaded with the court to grant an order to remove Tafa’s name from the voter‘s roll of the Francistown South constituency as his voter registration at the said constituency was unprocedural and irregular. He argued that the fact that Tafa knowingly cited a commercial plot as his place of residence is a contravention of the electoral act, which requires stipulation of place of residence in the voter registration process.
At the hearing, Magistrate Madumane ordered the two parties to take a twenty-minute recess to maker a final agreement that they will present to the court. Many were surprised when the two parties, whom no one believed could come to an agreement because they are political enemies, came back to the court with an ironed out agreement.
The agreement cited that “Elmon Nfanyana Tafa’s voter registration number 1207958 be nullified and removed from the voter’s roll of Francistown South constituency, polling district #86 Phillip Matante East, polling station # 422 open space vending area block 5, as it was unprocedurally included”.
The agreement also ordered that Elmon Tafa be allowed to re-register at the said constituency, provided he cites his principal place of residence. Both parties told the magistrate they had collectively compiled the agreement.
While Tafa’s voter registration has been annulled he has been given a reprieve in that he will be allowed to register for elections in any place in Botswana at which he can stipulate his place of residence.
“Comrade Moore”, as Tafa is popularly known, presently resides in Gaborone.
While he maintains that he was born in Francistown South and would have liked to register for elections there as it would boost his parliamentary candidacy, Tafa said after the hearing that he is satisfied with the outcome. He said that once again efforts by his political detractors to derail his convictions and campaign did not bear fruit. Tafa also said that he will register in Gaborone as proving that he was born in Francistown South would take up most of his time and efforts.
He clarified that registering in Gaborone will not in any way affect his parliamentary aspirations in Francistown South as the electoral act allows him to stand for political office anywhere in Botswana so long as he has registered for elections. He, however, lamented that it would mean a loss of one electoral vote, which he would have cast for himself in the 2009 general elections.
However, some political commentators in Francistown have cast aspersions on Tafa’s integrity as a man standing for political office. They said that the court should have addressed the bigger issue of whether Tafa should not be brought to book for knowingly lying to a government officer.
“The man has committed a crime by knowingly lying to a government officer when registering for elections. This is tantamount to fraud. This says a lot about the kind of people that we allow to hold political office,” they said.