A panel of three judges on Wednesday adjourned to February the case in which former Mosolotshane-Moralane Ward Councillor, Mogalakwe Mogalakwe has taken the IEC to court. This is to allow Mogalakwe’s attorneys to furnish the defence with more details. The panel composed of Justices Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe, Itumeleng Segopolo and Omphemetse Motumise adjourned the matter  to February 10-15h  at 830 am after only two  witnesses out of the scheduled 11 including Mogalakwe himself had given evidence, while the third was still on the stand

Mogalakwe petitioned the IEC and the BDP, wanting the outcome of the October 23, 2019 poll for the Mosolotshane/Moralane Ward elections in the Shoshong constituency declared null and void because the elections were not free and fair. Originally, the judges had set this week from Monday to Wednesday as trial dates but that had to change as both the petitioner’s attorney Faustino Ng’anda and Patrick Kgoadi of Kgoadi, Legwaila, and Ng’andu Partners law chambers, and IEC attorneys Advocate Andrew Redding SC appearing with Advocate Rammidi as well as Attorney Busang Manewe of  Bogopa, Manewe, Tobedza and Company spent all Monday addressing the five points of law raised by the court.

This led to the trial starting on Tuesday after the court released its interlocutory ruling in favour of the applicants. The court had asked all the parties to advise as to whether the petition was compliant with sections 117, 118 and 119 of the Electoral Act.
Ng’andu argued that his client has given security hence the petition is compliant with Electoral Act provisions. Further he said Mogalakwe’s surety was sufficient as it was never challenged by any of the respondents. BDP lawyer Manewe argued that the petition was not compliant with the stated provisions of the Act and was as such a nullity. He argued that the point  in limine raised by the court were in relation to mandatory provisions of Section 117 of the Act dealing with security, arguing that in accordance with  Sections 117, 118 and 119, the petitioner must bind himself and have at least four sureties and since Mogalakwe has failed to comply, his petition must be dismissed with costs.

Advocate Redding argued that they never objected to Mogalakwe’s petition, but in their response to the points in limine raised by the court, said the law states that when filing a petition, in relation to issues of security, the petitioner, who is the principal debtor, must be supported by sureties. When reading the majority ruling Justice Motumise said that the court has found that the petition of Mogalakwe has complied with the regulations or the provisions of the Electoral Act hence the trial would proceed. He said he however, holds a different view that the petition does not comply, but two of his brothers Justices Gaopalelwe and Segopolo differed. On Wednesday afternoon, the judges adjourned the trial after ordering Mogalakwe’s attorney to give more statements to both the IEC and BDP attorneys.

The attorney for both parties asked the court to order Mogalakwe’s attorney to furnish them with more details because the witnesses for Mogalakwe are saying more than what is in the statements in their possession. They argued that they need more information in order to prepare their defence sufficiently. The court ordered Mogalakwe's attorney to furnish them with more details. Mogalakwe's Attorneys promised to furnish both IEC and BDP attorneys with detailed statements on Monday The trial started on Wednesday with Mogalakwe giving his evidence in chief led by his attorney of record.

Mogalakwe singled out the names of people from IEC, police and BDP in his evidence-in-chief as the chief culprits in the electoral scam. He accused IEC officers of refusing to extend voting hours when many potential voters were around the polling station fence at closing time.He said IEC officers were biased and operated outside their mandate. He cited one Bajeleng Kaudimba – a BDP political activist whom he accused of being the lead actor in making the Moralane ward election not free and fair. He allegedly interfered with the electoral process from opening time at 6:30 am to closing at 7pm by always being in the voting line and telling voters to cast their votes for BDP candidates.

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Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) councillors at Serowe Administrative Authority (SAA) have taken a decision to boycott all sub-committees of the council with immediate effect. This comes after the councillors were not elected to any chairmanship of the sub-committees but were rather made additional members.

The subcommittees include among others Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA), Finance, Health and Liquor and Trading. BPF has eleven (11) voted councillors at SAA while Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has seven (7) councillors. Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale then approved nomination of six (6) BDP councillors to shoot up the BDP representation to thirteen (13).  The SAA consists of 24 councillors -18 duly elected and six nominated. Nominated Councillor Lesedi Phuthego who lost during the 2019 general election chairs the council.

The query by BPF councillors is that failure to have them chairing any of the sub-committees has disadvantaged them because they would not be represented at the Performance Monitoring Committee (PMC) which is the main committee of the council. The PMC is made up of Chairpersons of the sub-committees. In an interview with Botswana Guardian Councillor Nametso Senku of Patikwane Ward in the Serowe North Constituency said they find no use in participating in the sub-committees while they would not have any input in the PMC.

“PMC is the final decision-making committee. Whatever issue is discussed at sub-committes is taken to the PMC which consolidates all the issues after deliberating on them and takes them to the Full Council at Central District Council. “We have the specially elected councillors running the SAA but these are the people who do not have mandate from the electorates. “They have been rejected at the polls and now the BDP government has rewarded them so that they could safeguard the interest of the BDP.
“Nomination of the six BDP members by Molale was aimed at diluting the majority of the opposition BPF so that they could control the council. “They have won in that regard but we had thought that there would be cross-sectional representation. So, since that did not happen we would not participate in those committees which are currently sitting,” said Senku on behalf of the BPF councillors.

He said they would be addressing their constituents in their respective wards about this development. He said the situation is worrisome at the council. According Senku they had requested that specially elected councillors should not have voting powers but the motion was defeated by the majority BDP councillors. BPF, a breakaway party from the BDP, has won all three Serowe constituencies at Parliamentary level.

“Chairperson of SAA is a special nominee rejected at the general election. He is heading the same people that rejected him. SAA has about five committees and four (4) of these committees are chaired by Specially-elected councillors. “Only one (1) out of the 18 councillors with wards chairs one (1) committee. The Standing Orders of CDC dictate in Section 9.5 that there be cross-sectional representation in all the committees. “Clause 9.6 recognised councillors with trained skills to also make representation in the committees,” said Senku who argued that this decision goes against the promise by minister Molale that nomination of councillors will not distort the 2019 election outcome.

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Voters in the Gaborone North constituency are geared up to cast their vote.  Gaborone North with a population of 46 434 consists of six wards. The hotly contested constituency sees Haskins Nkaigwa (UDC), Thatayaone Molefhi (AP), Mpho Balopi (BDP), and Sidney Pilane (BMD) battling for a spot to represent the constituency. 

At two of the five polling stations in the Marapoathutlwa ward, voting is going very well. Residing officer for Phillip Mosotle station, Thatayaone Sikwane tells this publication that 867 people registered, and that slightly above 300 people have cast their vote. Opposite Phillip Moshotle, voting at the Livingstone Kolobeng College polling station, everything is going smoothly.

Residing officer Onkemetse Sikwa explains that 486 people registered. "Half of that number has already voted," he says. He also explains that earlier during the day, the voters alerted them about a pregnant woman who appeared unwell. "They gave her a chance to skip the line so that she could be rushed to the clinic," he says.

Published in News
Friday, 04 October 2019 11:30

UDC warn BDP to stop spreading falsehoods

Batswana should not allow their opponents to distract them by indicating that the coalition has a working relation with former President Ian Khama. Head of Communications for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Moeti Mohwasa said the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is at the forefront of distorting facts regarding the relationship between UDC and Khama and his party Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).

Mohwasa who was updating the media in Gaborone about his party’s preparations for the launch of its leader Duma Boko and running mate Dumelang Saleshando stated that the BDP is desperately distorting facts because it fears that it would lose elections.
Mohwasa explained that what is happening is that the BPF has called on electorates to vote for UDC where the BPF has not fielded any candidate.

“Why should we attack someone who wants eligible voters to cast their votes in our favour? Khama has made it clear that he wants the BDP led by Mokgweetsi Masisi to be voted out of power. “Now they want us to reject that. We cannot do that because we also want the BDP voted out of office because it has failed the people of this country in the past 53 years. “We do not have a working relationship with the BPF which is why we are competing in some of the constituencies and wards. It is interesting that the BDP had a long relationship with Khama and he was a saint and now that he has dumped their party, he is a bad person.

“The problem is not a person but the party and BDP should take responsibility as a collective on all wrongs committed by Khama,” said Mohwasa.The head of communications stated that there was still corruption and scandals even during the era of those BDP leaders who were at the helm of the party before Khama, but the perpetrators have not been brought to book. Mohwasa said the BDP is feeling the heat after its fallout with Khama. “If he is that bad why was President Masisi publicly indicating that they want him back into the party,” he asked adding that the BDP elders approached Khama to return to the BDP because they know the new party will be a contributing factor in the BDP performance.

“The BDP is rotting from inside. Masisi is a deployee of the BDP as was Khama during his time. We would hate or fight Masisi when he is no longer at the helm of the BDP. “Everyone that supports the UDC we will welcome such with open hands. Even our other competitors, the BDP and Alliance for Progressives when they support us, we will not reject them so the BDP should stop lying to Batswana and accept that their time is up and post October 23rd they will no longer be in power. “They know that the BDP is what it is because of the influence of the Khamas. So, they have to deal with the problem they have created and stop spreading falsehoods.”

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Independent Parliamentary candidate for Serowe North, Ramadeluka Seretse was among the influential voices that led to the postponement of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) elective congress a fortnight ago in Kanye. BPF is currently engulfed in a bitter power struggle which political pundits attribute to disagreements over who should lead the party. 

Inside sources say so serious is the struggle that some members do not want MP for Tati West and interim president, Biggie Butale to lead the party. Others are suggesting that the party should pursue MP for Serowe West, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi to join them and take over the presidency. Seretse says he is not yet a BPF member but intends to join the party after elections. “I have gone a long way, we have already branded ourselves as ‘Abdul’ and the ‘MP Ndelu’ is a brand in Serowe North”. He fears it would cause confusion if he were to convince the electorate to switch from BDP logo to his slogan and then two months before elections introduce yet another thing.

“I chose to be independent because I have my own motions that I could table and get sympathy from other MPs instead of where they can be quashed at party caucus level”. Seretse denies wanting the BPF presidency because the circumstances are such that its Patron Dr Ian Khama is largely the driver behind the BPF. “If anyone of us related to him comes in, it will be perceived that Khama wants to return to power using relatives even though he left constitutionally. “So, I will not want to attract attention to my family, and be seen as somebody who is being used. It is not that I am not capable,” Seretse says, adding that he has the capability to lead any organisation even a political party.

But his view is that the BPF is seen largely as Khama’s party and to be seen in the leadership structures would just be to condemn it to most of the commentators and doubtful minds. “So the best is to stay away and help them where it is required once I am a member”. Seretse confirms that he stood up during the inaugural congress in Kanye and pointed out that BPF should not go for an elective congress because “it is going to split us.” “Most of us are still BDP at heart and in values; I know pretty well that we are going to split because of the powers struggles. I told them that I can smell factions; I can see them at play,” Seretse says. 

Though not part of the interim committee, he has always been bold to offer advise when the situation demands it.  “I told them that in this committee, there are people that actually went to register the party, and in my knowledge there must have been subscribers and the subscribers are the lawful committee to do anything under the constitution. If they have to form membership, they are the ones who should go out there to get members so that they could go to a congress.” Seretse says contrary to what has been said by the interim president Butale, it is not true that some people threatened to sue the party.

As for his personal preference for BPF president, Seretse lists these attributes: charisma, personality, ability to lead or be seen as a leader. “It must be someone that will be able to attract you first before other people. I am not saying the current one does not have that,” he said, adding that it is natural to desire leaders that are calm, collected and not angry, people that are focused on what it is they want to achieve.  “We cannot just think of removing Masisi but rather what is beyond him. We need leadership that has short, medium and long-term vision.” In his view Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi who could not contest elections at BDP, has a wealth of knowledge, experience and charisma. 

“Granted, age might not be on her side but she has a lot of expertise therefore we can use her to build and lead BPF in the formative stages to make it strong”.  Seretse hopes that when BPF meets in Palapye in two weeks’ time, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi will be a candidate for presidency. “I hope the committee, those men and women that matter, would have seen how impactful she would be. “There will be consensus that we should have only one list that we go with to avoid divisions. Whoever stands and wins is fine, but they must not cause factionalism, it is unfortunate that it is part and parcel of our politics, but you would hope that they would understand”. 

Seretse rubbished claims that Khama has issued an ultimatum to independent candidates to join his party.  Instead he says that Khama is sympathetic to independent candidates who took the first step without knowing where they are going to land.  “Only Nehemiah Modubule has won as an independent candidate in our history. Khama is saying, let us not antagonise them, we must work with them support them so that when they win they come to us. But, of course there is an element of trust, are they really going to come? As an independent my call is going to come from the people.”  Seretse believes that his chances are good as constituents have pledged support for Khama.

Published in News
Monday, 20 May 2019 11:05

Former MPs condemn Khama

Former Members of Parliament have blasted former head of state Dr. Ian Khama accusing him of dividing the nation. The former MPs made a resolution during their Annual General Meeting on the 11th of this month during The Association of Former Members of the Botswana Parliament to condemn Dr Khama.

According to the former MPs there is national instability and anxiety created by the Former President emanating from his unfounded appeal for sympathy from across the nation. “We observe with regret that his sympathy seeking antics are fast turning into promotion of regionalism and tribalism. “Our collective view is that the Former President’s actions and utterances are uncalled for and must be rejected by all those who live in this beautiful country if we are to preserve our national peace and tranquility that we have enjoyed over the years and have become the envy of many a nation,” the MPs said.

The association was established on the 24th September 2018 under Section 6 (1) of the Registration of Societies Regulations of the Societies Act. It is a non-profit making and independent organisation whose membership is drawn from former members of the Botswana Parliament from various political parties. According to the association what Dr Khama is doing presents grave risk to the stability of the nation and its core values and principles. 

The Association further called upon the Former President to desist from his divisive gatherings and statements and play his role as a statesman who has enjoyed the support and recognition of Batswana during his term of office. “Our plea is informed by the diligent job our other former Presidents did in their retirement. They did not only subordinate themselves and allowed space for their successors to run the affairs of the nation but also became ambassadors of Botswana across the globe through their noble peace-making efforts.

“We believe this immediate past Former President must do the same,” argues the association. The former MPs are further disturbed by the level of corruption which they say happened in the past ten (10) years. Dr Khama was the president of the country in the past ten (10) years.

The Association says like the nation at large it is alarmed by the high levels of corruption in the economy that is being reported in the media. Incidences of corruption according to the former MPs seems to have literally spiraled out of control during the past ten years.
“To this end, we call upon Batswana to embrace the fight against corruption in all its forms across the economy”.

The Association says its objectives are among others, to provide collective opinions or pronouncements on matters of national interest and importance and to advise Government, the nation at large or any other institution on any matter that may be within its competence. 

Published in News
Tuesday, 07 May 2019 10:12

BFTU launches Workers’ Manifesto

The Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) launched its first ever manifesto for the 2019 national elections on 1 May to coincide with Workers’ Day. BFTU spokesperson Thusang Butale told this publication that the manifesto was premised on the realisation that they do not educate workers properly on critical issues that they should consider when they are engaging parliamentary aspirants in their constituencies.

“Last year October we held a general council meeting and during our discussions we pointed out that elections are around the corner and that a lot was happening in our country in terms of issues of unemployment, corruption and poverty, which essentially affect workers,” he said. Butale explained that while the manifesto was launched this week, they would roll it out in the coming weeks and also engage community leaders and members through kgotla meetings.

He said they would also engage political parties on their manifestos “BDP released theirs and we are waiting for the UDC manifesto that will be out in the next two weeks.  “We will not influence or persuade workers who to vote for but to improve the scope of education and knowledge as we strive to advance Botswana.”
He said that manifesto covered a wide range of issues but one key issue was work ethic in Botswana.  “We wanted to know why workers don’t apply themselves more in Botswana and it directed us to welfare issues, decent and work deficit, which cover issues of occupational health and safety,” he said.

The union mouthpiece also said that they had included the political landscape because of the inter-party fighting and opposition and ruling party bickering, adding that they had observed that workers are often “bought” for votes as if their vote is for sale to the highest bidder. “This is because some workers are not well-informed on issues and do not know how to engage public office aspirants. We created this document that could speak to workers and educate them on issues of interest, with primary focus on educating them on issues that affect them and the current status.”

Butale cited corruption as a niggling issue in Botswana. “NPF money and Central Bank funds belong to Botswana – there should be accountability. “The public should know that they are suffering while a few people benefit. Subsequent to all this we saw petrol price hikes and this affects workers but the minimum wage is still very low and the private sector for example, has not seen wage increases in a long time.

These issues impact across board.” He said that socio-economic inequality was still prevalent 50 years after independence. “The gap between the poor and the rich continues to increase. From outside Botswana appears to be rich but reality is the opposite. How can we bring wealth to the country when we are the working poor?

“We demand sharing resources and wealth, and creating a democratic, diversified and inclusive economy. A report done by UNDP indicates that since 1996 there has not been any huge change in Batswana’s socio-economic status… “This reflects jobless growth, which in turn signifies a rootless, wealthlessness and futureless Botswana where the current generation squanders resources needed by the future generation but as the saying goes, ‘we live today because of time borrowed time by the future generations’… but what are the future generation going to find?”

He said that they were also of the view that an economy without a strong SMME sector could not be sustainable and that Botswana should have a policy to place citizens in the middle of the SMMEs sector, develop incubators and have in place preferential access to credit.

Butale added that accountability and governance was key. “We believe organisations such as auditor general, DCEC, IEC, BURS – should be appointed and removed from office by Parliament and account to Parliament and not form an arm of executive.

“In addition, there should be oversight bodies that include civil society institutions such as faith based and unions. These institutions should rather be built into Botswana governance and accountability structure, and these organisations should be able to do checks and balances on each other.”

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Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:18

MP Majaga, BDP headed for showdown

Member of Parliament for Nata-Gweta Polson Majaga is being pushed against the wall by his party – Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Majaga who dared to defy party convention, went against his party’s processes and even seemed to disrespect the party’s values when he tabled the motion calling for direct election of President in Parliament.

Although it received overwhelming support, there had been prior plans to kill the motion when Vice President Slumber Tsogwane tried to engage Majaga in a bid to dissuade him against going ahead with his plans. But now, indications are that Majaga’s hard work will all come to nought following this past weekend’s BDP National Council in Kang, which wants nothing to do with the ‘dangerous’ motion. This week BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi said there is no how the party would give such a dangerous motion the green light.

In fact, he said that Majaga himself conceded at the National Council in Kang to not having followed proper party processes and procedures and promised to “engage further with party leadership on the motion”. But in an interview this week Majaga told Botswana Guardian that the motion is for Batswana and not for ‘one man who stood at the National Council and expressed his discomfort about the motion’.  The outspoken legislator said the National Council was “not the right forum” to discuss a matter which has been dealt with by Parliament.

“I did agree to engage the leadership further on the matter. People have to understand that this issue is for Batswana and it is one of the issues they have long wanted to be attended to. “I humbled myself at the Council because I had to respect the leadership of the party but surprisingly people who were pushing for the motion to be discussed though I was not around, which is why when my whereabouts were questioned I stood up and went to the podium to explain. “I did not want to embarrass anyone, which is why I obliged for further consultation but that does not change what happened in Parliament,” said Majaga adding that MPs were not opposed to the motion.

He wondered why at the Council Vice President Tsogwane, Balopi and newly-appointed Central Committee additional member Tebelelo Seretse were also pushing for the motion to be subjected to further rigorous debate by the BDP. But Balopi told the media this week that it was “disorderly” to have the motion brought before Parliament without first being subjected to vigorous scrutiny by the party. He revealed that on numerous occasions the party through its Parliamentary Caucus tried to have the motion put on hold but failed because the majority wanted to have the motion proceeded with.

“The motion at first hand might be seen to be progressive because this is done in other countries. When you scrutinise it further you will find out that there would be a lot of changes that comes with it. “The motion has to be subjected to party process which is why after the National Council we would take it further to the National Congress. The motion was first taken to Parliament and we are saying this is not how we do things as the BDP. “The motion would not only affect the president but everything around the presidency. So, we have to understand the implications that come with it,” Balopi explained.

He stated that this could also affect other party members who would have thought would grow through party ranks to at one point become the president. He said the BDP is not saying the motion is bad but wants it to be debated thoroughly. Balopi said the motion would not only change the political landscape but that the Constitution would also have to be changed.

“This would be a huge process that would need referendum and change of landscape politically,” said Balopi adding that as the BDP they do not want Botswana to find herself in the position of Malawi which at one point voted a non-partisan president who immediately formed a party and polarised Parliament through appointment of ministers and those who wanted appointments joined the new party. “This is why we say as the BDP there is no way the matter should be first discussed in Parliament. All BDP MPs who stood and debated the motion are deployees of the BDP. 

“At times people misdirect themselves and say I have been voted by the people. Why don’t you contest as an independent candidate and be voted as such?  “So, when you use the BDP ticket, emblem and slogan then learn to respect its constitution, principles and its values and act accordingly.  As the BDP we are not going to accept that to happen that way,” Balopi stated.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:05

The expensive contest that never was

Although she waged a spirited campaign, Dr. Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi’s presidential bid was littered with many faultlines that culminated in her last minute pullout to the dismay of multitudes of BDP faithful.

The nation’s hope and anticipation had built over time on who would win the historic presidential race. The campaign was tough and at one point involved legal action in which three judges recused themselves to avoid any semblance of bias or perceived relationship with any of the parties.

What gave rise to the court case is the fact that Moitoi had submitted a list of people that she said were delegates to Secretary General, Mpho Balopi in compliance with Article 29.3 of the BDP constitution. Balopi received Moitoi‘s letter accompanied with names of her 50 delegates but he noticed that 26 of them were Councillors and therefore not  delegates. 

Balopi told Botswana Guardian that he wrote to Moitoi that, “according to our reading of Article 26.4 of the constitution and also the legal opinion that the party had sought from the party lawyers, Councillors are not party delegates and therefore  once those people are removed from the list, it means she does not comply”.  Moitoi was then advised to comply, and to do her due diligence to ensure that people that she is submitting are delegates.

APPLICATION
Balopi said after receipt of that letter, an urgent application, “we were served on Wednesday afternoon and required to be in court at 8; 30 am the next morning.  “The application was bulky, which led to the attorneys working the entire night to respond and actually had to call me as I was just leaving for Kang to come back so that I could give them an affidavit.”

LEGAL OPINION
Three weeks prior to the party writing to Moitoi, the party had obtained legal opinion that the only delegates template by Article 29.3 and 29.3.1 are delegates as defined by article 26.4.2 of the BDP constitution.   The attendees of the national congress are all members of the national council (Article 27.3) and they are: Members of the Central Committee, MPs of the party, all regional chairpersons, all branch chairpersons and their secretaries, all members of the inner executive committee of the Youth, Women’s wing executive, one councillor from each branch, while members of the sub committees of the central committees may attend as observers.

The second group of attendees is eight (8) delegates from each branch of the 57 constituencies bringing the total to 456 delegates as well as all Councillors. All the above have voting rights. Each constituency has to bring observers.
It was on the strength of the legal opinion that Moitoi was advised in her list that at least 26 were not delegates in accordance with the BDP constitution.

LAWSUIT
The Party lawyers raised a number of points in limine and argued them in court, which acceeded to three points being; that, the matter was not urgent as Moitoi had known as far back as 17th December 2018 that she was going to contest. She has been a Central Committee member for long, she knew the process and it ought not to have taken her by surprise that the rules were the ones that are in place.  She argued that the constitution does not provide rules, and in court it was demonstrated that there were rules.

The post of a party president is that of a member of the Central Committee in accordance with Article 28, and the constitution provides  for elections of central committee members with the  difference being while the elections for CC are done every two years, the election for president is held on elections year only. The second point Moitoi had not demonstrated that she had locus standi in court showing that she has a demonstrable right to be before the court.

The confusion arose from the fact that BDP constitution states that for one to qualify as a candidate for the post of the presidency for the party, one must also qualify to be president of Botswana under Article 29.3.3 of the constitution.  The constitution states for one to be president of Botswana one must be a citizen by birth or descent. In her founding affidavit she did not state whether she is a citizen by birth or descent instead she only stated that she is a Member of Parliament. The judges ruled that Section 33(1) of the Botswana Constitution state that a person shall qualify to be a president of Botswana if he/she is a citizen of Botswana by birth or descent.

Although there were arguments on the definition of delegate, the court did not rule on it because it was raised as one of the points in limine. Before the court process Moitoi’s lawyers had indicated that they would like to explore the possibility whether the matter could be resolved amicably and they requested to meet with President Masisi. Balopi gave the go ahead and the president was willing to meet them. When the case was set to resume at 2pm the meeting had been set for 11.30. The president and his team waited for about an hour.  The president extended an olive branch that although Moitoi’s 26 Councillors are not delegates, for the purpose of the selection the party can accept them as delegates. 

Moitoi demanded to be given a voters’ roll but Masisi told her that he also does not have it, however, Balopi can provide it so that she has time to inspect it before the election.  Moitoi’s other concerns included wanting to know who the election commissioners were and to be assured of the fairness and transparency of the elections.  She was assured there will be international observers, voting will be done in the presence of observers, media and diplomatic corps.

There would also be verification before and after reconciliation.Moitoi requested for congress to be postponed to July. The party told her that is not possible as people are already in Kang. Further there are rules that she could have followed if she wanted the congress postponed.   In Kang the Commissioners called for the names of both Masisi and Venson, but the latter did not confirm her candidacy as she had withdrawn.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 16:00

Motshegwa aims to shake up Parliament

Umbrella for Democratic Change Parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Bonnington South says he is standing for political office to pursue the agenda of the working class and the poor who are marginalised in the economy. Ketlhalefile Motshegwa a renowned trade unionist is currently Secretary General for BLLAWU and Deputy Secretary for Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU).

He was recently criticised for having failed to disclose his interest in political office. In an interview with Botswana Guardian this week Motshegwa said that after being approached by the UDC he made consultations and has now arrived at a decision to contest for parliamentary election in Gaborone Bonnington South constituency. This is the constituency that he stayed at for some time and voted at in 2014. “Upfront I indicate my respect for those I will be contesting with. They are my fellow citizens whom together we are creating diversity of choice for our people and for functionality and nurturing of our democracy.

“Democracy is about competition, and nobody should be faulted or persecuted for merely availing themselves for democratic process such as elections in a Republican set up. “In our team, in advancing my candidature and those of council candidates, we will be conducting a clean, mature, ethical, progressive and issue-based campaign. We are focused on the elections, and our ideas to the people to solve their problems. This country so much yearns for solution-oriented leaders,” he explained.

He believes issues that have to be dealt with unapologetically and with vigour are those of ideological and policy orientation. He argued that there is need to dismantle a system that protects the power and privilege of the few against the interests and needs of the many.

This needs a radical shift on policy framework hinged on ideological orientation, he stated adding that policies should talk about the workers, the poor, youth, women and disabled people.Motshegwa said he would focus on review of the constitution and efforts for enhancement of the country’s democracy. He believes that the economic gains of this country must benefit all Batswana and that in modern times advocacy should be for the socio-economic, political and psychological independence from those neo-colonial mentality.

“Focus must be on the struggle of the working class and the peasants. The working class or labouring class are the people employed for wages, especially in manual-labour occupations and industrial work. This class has nothing to sell but their labour power and skills and they have a challenge of access to economic resources. “That is even worse for the poor who are living in sorrows, agony and some having lost hope to the extent of wishing death upon themselves daily. So far, we have been walking around, having chats with the people in Gaborone Bonnington South.

“They share stories that touch the heart, with feeling and meaning. Some of those are the most beautiful stories to hear as they are moving and inspirational. On the other hand, some are stories of agony and despair arising from abject poverty. The stories of people who have lost hope and are only seeking death a solution to depart from this earth. When I see their tears, I can’t help but shed my own,” posited Motshegwa.

According to the aspiring legislator the “Motshegwa For Gaborone Bonnington South campaign” is driven by principles of respect of human rights and premised on human centered development.  “Our campaign is to go and revolutionise parliament to bring about radical legal and policy shift to care for the workers, the poor, youth, the disabled, the old people, and robustly push for effective citizenship economic empowerment,” he argues. 

Motshegwa explained that his team understands very well that they have a responsibility to cleanse our politics and ensure that people respect politics and politicians, in order to do away with bad notions attached to politics as a dirty vocation. He said politics should be about listening to and serving people, creating ideas as solutions to socio-economic and political predicaments of the country.

“We want a great Botswana where the economy benefits all and human rights are respected and nurtured. We will be fearless, uncompromising and unapologetic in demanding economic independence for the people of this country’s people and social justice.  “We cannot afford to have a rich country with poor people, this we are moving to stop”.

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