Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members have accused Tsholetsa House of trying to use the prohibitive cost of travelling to Gaborone with witnesses for the Bulela Ditswe appeal hearings to get them to drop their cases.
The BDP Special Committee is conducting appeal hearings this week in Gaborone for all regions of the country.Appellants have to pay to transport their witnesses as well as foot other related welfare costs such as meals and accommodation from as far as Ngamiland.
Some members say the party deliberately made them travel with the hope that the expenses would frustrate them to the point of dropping their cases. “The BDP used to travel wherever the appeals were to address them. This time I think the move was meant to frustrate us,” said one councilor from Francistown.
He said that his constituency contributed up to P50 000 for food, accommodation and travelling costs for their over 15 witnesses.
Maun East MP Frank Ramsden was worried that justice was unlikely to be served in the hearings, saying the BDP has developed fraudulent tendencies.
Gweta MP Rayner Makosha said: “I did not even bother to appeal, but what I can confirm is that it is very costly. Some people would fail to appeal because they do not have traveling resources”.
Makosha also feared that those who spent tens of thousands of Pula travelling to the appeal hearings are likely to be ripped off once again.“The BDP has changed. Primaries used to be fair and there were minimal appeals. Things were done in good principle. Currently there is fraud, too much cheating and scheming,” he said.
“We paid P2 500 and P5 000 for council and parliamentary elections respectively, why can’t the money finance such activities?” he asked rhetorically. BDP Secretray General Mpho Balopi has said that the decision to have all appeals heard in Gaborone was meant to speed up the process.He brushed off suspicions that the appellants were being deliberately frustrated.