Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will defend its decision to allow the candidacy of Moemedi Dijeng against the aggrieved incumbent Member of Parliament for Serowe West, Tshekedi Khama, who has since dragged the party to court.
Khama, who is also Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, has taken his party to court to challenge the candidature of one of his challengers in the constituency, Moemedi Dijeng. The case is likely to compromise the holding of Bulela-Ditswe in the constituency next week Saturday. The case was scheduled to be heard at Lobatse High Court on Monday this week but was postponed to yesterday (Thursday).
Khama proceeded to court after BDP Central Committee refused to heed his demands. Khama would be defending his seat to represent the BDP in Serowe West in the 2019 general election against Dijeng and former Member of Parliament for Gaborone North and cabinet member Keletso Rakhudu. Khama had put forward demands under timeframes for Dijeng to be disqualified.
In a letter dated July 20th 2018, Khama gave BDP Central Committee three days to disqualify Dijeng. Failure by the party to act on the matter Khama said he would be left with no choice but to demand for the holding of extra-ordinary meeting of the National Council within Seven (7) days of receipt of the letter. Should this fail Khama posited that he would move an urgent application with the High Court to review Dijeng’s approval and interdict holding of primaries in the constituency. BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi said BDP as an entity would be taking the matter head on and is hopeful of victory.
He said it would be up to Khama as he is the one who alleges to prove his case. “As an entity we are ready to respond to the allegations. We are however not fighting the applicant. We would abide by any decision that the court would have handed down. We are a law abiding democratic party,” said Balopi at a press briefing in Palapye. Balopi expressed hope that the matter would be resolved before the 25th of this month, also stating that it would not be for the first time that the party faced a similar matter.
He cited the case which was brought by Whyte Marobela against the party and resulted with the party being barred from fielding a candidate at a by-election in Francistown West Constituency in 2013. The BDP would later win the case on appeal. According to Balopi, as the BDP they have followed the right procedure when dealing with Khama’s matter. Khama in a letter addressed to the party chairman Slumber Tsogwane states that, “it is the impropriety of the manner in which the approval of prospective candidates recommended by the Branch Committee in Serowe West Constituency was carried out by yourselves that has precipitated the delivery of this communication”.
Khama argues that Dijeng was once found to have contravened the BDP Code of Conduct. He stated through his lawyers in the letter that Dijeng candidacy has been approved, “despite the fact that the Disciplinary Committee of the very same Central Committee had on the 12th of June 2018, found the said Dijeng guilty of contravening Clause 16 of the party’s Code of Conduct for candidates in primary election stemming from a complaint raised by the Central Region Committee; and despite the fact that the central committee knew or ought to have known of this ruling not only because, in terms of the party’s procedures, all findings of the disciplinary committee are forwarded to it but also that our client made the Central Committee aware of such findings prior to the vetting process by handing copies of said Disciplinary Committee findings to both the party Secretary General and Chairperson.”
According to the minister, the Central Committee cannot exercise its powers or and functions beyond that which is prescribed by the governing law of the party. In doing so, Khama said it would be acting without legal authority and any decision taken that lack legal authority is illegal and is of no force and effect.