While President Mokgweetsi Masisi who is also leader of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has vowed to fight corruption, more rot is emerging in his backyard (BDP), Botswana Guardian has established.
In a leaked audio conversation between one of Masisi’s camp associates and long serving cabinet member Shaw Kgathi and a council candidate in his constituency it was revealed that many of the Bulela-Ditswe candidates have criminal records. This means there could be more criminals within the BDP and government (Councillors, Members of Parliament and Ministers).
BDP is holding its last batch of Bulela-Ditswe tomorrow (Saturday) where over 100 participants are expected to participate in the primaries. In the audio telephonic conversation that this publication has, Kgathi who is Minister of Defence, Justice and Security also BDP Deputy Secretary General revealed to Daniel Magwana - a council candidate for Molalatau Ward in Bobonong Constituency, that most of the candidates for tomorrow’s primaries have criminal records.
In that conversation in which the two conversing call each other by names and, uncle and nephew, Kgathi was requesting Magwana to pull out of the race to allow his (Kgathi) long time ally and current Molalatau Councillor Nathaniel Moribame to run unchallenged.Kgathi in the conversation also took a swipe at his challenger, mining consultant and former Debswana engineer, Francisco Kgoboko.
He accused Kgoboko of having no credentials and also having a criminal record. He wants Magwana who is allegedly supporting Kgoboko to ditch him and team up with Kgathi’s camp. Kgathi and Kgoboko have had skirmishes in the past after Kgathi had accused Kgoboko of campaigning illegally.
The audio conversation is said to have ruffled feathers following the utterances by Kgathi who is a senior cabinet member and member of the BDP Central Committee.News within the BDP corridors suggests that the thorough vetting process that the central committee ought to have conducted was not done.
BDP had during declaration of interest to contest in Bulela-Ditswe made a requirement for their parliamentary and council candidates to have an affidavit signed by the police clearing them of not having criminal records.
BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi told the media that they want credible candidates for the 2019 election.
Balopi was reported to have indicated that they also want affidavits from their candidates to also check whether the information they provided while registering as candidates at regions is correct. He indicated that they want those who will occupy national leadership positions within the party to be very credible.
It has been argued that Kgathi as senior party member could have not just have made false utterances that have no basis. Reached for comment, Magwana indicated that time and again he has conversations with Kgathi as a relative and his area MP. He confirmed that he once had such a conversation with Kgathi about him compromising which is not anything new within the party and it has been encouraged that members should for the sake of the party always consider compromise.
He however expressed shock that their conversation was recorded. “I do not know anything about a recording. I wonder who could have recorded that. It comes as a surprise for me to hear someone from Gaborone telling me that they have a conversation of mine with my MP on audio. Maybe you could ask the minister if he so did record me,” said Magwana who stated that he could not discuss the matter further because he has flu and losing his voice.
For his part Kgoboko dismissed the allegations by this publication regarding the audio as a mere smear campaign. He expressed doubt that Kgathi as his elder, area MP, minister and his party’s Deputy Secretary General would make such utterances. “I guess you guys might be just making it up. There is no how I could have a criminal record while I filled an affidavit declaring that I do not have a criminal record but if the minster made such utterances it would be unfortunate.
“My credentials also speak for themselves. I do not think Kgathi would talk like that because membership registration, registration for candidature among other things falls under the office of the secretary general where he is a deputy. So these things could have been picked plus he has advantage of police to have investigated or better still approached me as my elder,” said Kgoboko.
When contacted, Kgathi who at the time was addressing his campaign team denied ever having a conversation with Magwana. He said because of obvious reasons that he is not in the same team with Magwana he could not have had such a conversation with him. He requested that the audio be shared with him to ascertain it is his voice on the conversation which was done via WhatsApp. During a follow-up call Kgathi said he was driving and should be contacted after an hour.
For his part, BDP secretary general Mpho Balopi indicated that it would be unfortunate if some people would have managed to be vetted in while having criminal records. The SG said they do not run the party through rumour-mongering and allegations. “We are a law abiding organisation and if someone has wronged the state and laws do not allow for that person to stand for elections such as IEC laws we would not allow that person to contest for our primaries.
This is why we made people to sign affidavit to declare that they do not have criminal records. I do not have the benefit of your alleged conversation but it would be unfortunate for that to have happened”.