BDP chairmanship contester still missing
On the eve of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) elections in Masunga , one Jerry Chitube who had just joined the chairmanship race a fortnight before the congress was abducted by security agents and has never been heard of to date.
It has been three weeks since Chitube’s disappearance and his family and campaign team members have confirmed being in the dark about his whereabouts. The police are allegedly refusing to divulge any information to them.
Tracing the story, The Botswana Gazette discovers that Chitube is said to have been a subject of investigation by law enforcers for suspicious transactions on his bank account. Sources also claim that Chitube is a wanted man and it is contended that some South African men claim he swindled them money promising them business opportunities.
Chitube’s campaign team members disclosed that he was abducted while in the company of one of them and he was even asked about the abductee’s nationality.
During the abduction, the two men and a woman who were driving a Hyundai sedan accompanied by a Toyota Raider are said to have ordered his companion to bring Chitube’s phones which were being charged at the time of his abduction.
Following the incident, his campaign team members who refused to be named then went to report to the Masunga Police Station, where after making an enquiry, the station commander told them not to worry as Chitube was arrested by ‘authorised people’ and that he had been taken to Gaborone. It remains unclear who these ‘authorized people’ were as the Acting Station Commander Assistant Superintendent Thuso Basuti remained economic with information.
The campaign team members believes Chitube’s disappearance may have been a plot arranged by some people within the ruling party who felt greatly threatened by his challenge for the chairmanship race.
They told of how Chitube was a visionary who had managed to convince them within the last two weeks to vote for him without even having to pay a single penny for their votes. They also told of how Chitube’s friends and business partners in South Africa had wanted to donate to him buses to ferry people to Masunga. They claimed that the buses were not allowed into the country for reasons they do not understand.
“We ended up having to hire buses this side last minute, and right now their owners are yet to be paid because Chitube is nowhere to be seen. We do not understand how someone can be incarcerated for this long without being taken before the courts, and it is surprising that our party is silent as if nothing happened but their member who was contesting elections has been taken away,” a source said.
NYEC Chairman Andy Boatile who was accused by Chitube’s followers of being responsible for the disappearance has since refuted the allegations and said he does not even know Chitube.
Meanwhile this publication has gathered that one Mogorosi who is said to be Chitube’s business partner was arrested days before congress and that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) agents were looking for Chitube, subsequently apprehending him in Masunga. Sources reveal that the DISS may have taken him into custody in relation to suspicious transactions on his bank account. DISS Director General Isaac Kgosi would not take calls from this publication to confirm the arrest and the investigations on Chitube.
The Botswana Gazette has also turned up information that Chitube’s wife was also arrested on the 7th of February and has since been released leaving Chitube behind. Efforts to contact her were futile as she is said to have left for South Africa following her release.
One of Chitube’s campaign team members told this reporter that someone called them the night before Chitube was abducted and warned that he was a wanted man by the state agents. Chitube’s mother on Friday expressed concern at the manner in which the case is being handled, stating that they are yet to see their son or know what he was arrested for adding that no clear explanation was given to the family by the police or the DISS.
Is Chitube an above the board politician?
At the same time, Chitube is accused of fleecing some South African business men who are now said to be hunting for him. The allegations are such that he convinced them to pour in a lot of money in his campaigns promising a great investment opportunity as he will be a highly placed government official.
One of the men who identified only himself as Sbu said he only met Chitube twice and they made some business transactions whose details he refused to divulge.
“This guy said he is a prominent member of the ruling party and holds a high post in government, he promised to help us do business in Botswana. We made some transactions before the elections last year and ever since after the elections he has been dodgy, always claiming to be busy, and now he does not take my calls anymore,” he said.
According to Sbu, Chitube’s ‘donors’ was a group of about 20 business people from around the world who poured a lot of money to his campaigns long before the 2014 General Election knowing that they will do business with ease after the elections as they had the man with the right connections. Sbu said he only wants Chitube to face him and talk to him before he can engage other powerful partners through his contacts in South Africa.
Pressed to reveal more about his dealings with Chitube, Sbu only said, “Just call him and ask him about his business venture with a South African group including Americans. I don’t want to disclose more because I’m an African and he is an African brother as well. He should just stop being dodgy and do the right things in the world.”
Still in the hands of the security agents, it is not clear whether any case against Chitube has been registered and his family still yet to know his whereabouts.