Following the postponement of his disciplinary hearing by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Gaborone Bonnington South parliamentary hopeful Christian Nthuba has announced that he will challenge the incumbent area Member of Parliament (MP) Botsalo Ntuane as an independent candidate.
Nthuba who was on a 60-day suspension for allegations of electoral fraud told The Gazette that he has run out of patience. “I have served my 60 day suspension and I was looking forward to a hearing only to be told the hearing has been postponed because Parks Tafa is sick. Is Tafa the only member of the electoral board? What happens if he does not get better soon? My opponents are already campaigning in the constituency and I am lagging behind. I have decided to abandon this hearing and contest as an independent candidate,” he said.
According to the documents in possession of this publication, the BDP disciplinary committee wrote a letter dated 03 February 2014 to the party secretary general Mpho Balopi requesting postponement of the hearing.
The letter, signed by the deputy executive secretary Lee Lesetedi and copied to Nthuba reads, “Kindly note that Mr Parks Tafa has notified us of his unexpected illness and is due to go to United Kingdom for surgery on the 06 February 2014. With this regards we request that you postpone the hearing concerning Mr Christian Nthuba to the month of March 2014 as Mr Tafa is the complainant in his capacity as the chairman of the electoral board.” A day after the disciplinary committee asked for postponement the disciplinary committee secretary Maemo Modisaotsile wrote to Nthuba informing him about the decision to reschedule his hearing.
The letter addressed to Nthuba reads in part, “You are kindly advised that your hearing has been postponed from Friday 07 February 2014 to 11 March 2014 at 0900hrs at Party office in Gaborone. Kindly be ready with all your evidence and witnesses in your defence.”
The BDP secretary general Mpho Balopi denied knowledge of issues about Nthuba’s hearing.
He however directed this publication to MP Molatlhegi whose phone rang unanswered. Meanwhile Nthuba’s move to contest as an independent candidate has reportedly caught Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) eye. Nthuba would neither confirm nor deny that he was in talks with the BCP. A BCP central committee member who did not want his identity to be revealed confirmed that the party and Nthuba are working on a relationship towards 2014 general elections. “This is a top secret in the party; what is going to happen is that members of the BCP in Gaborone Bonnington South will be mobilised to vote for Nthuba because the party has little trust that its parliamentary candidate in the area Abby Chengeta will win against Ntuane”.
Contacted for comment Chengeta said he will not be surprised if some members of the BCP give support to Nthuba in the elections, “every individual can always decide what they want to do and we have no control on what individuals do. I wouldn’t be surprised because in every party certain members can decide what they want; it is up to them it is difficult to tell what people are plotting. It will be something that we are not used to in the BCP,” he said.
The BCP publicity secretary Taolo Lucas said he was not aware of Nthuba’s recruitment to the party, “I am not aware of any moves to recruit Nthuba but I cannot rule out that possibility. Our structures all over the country are busy at work trying to get people into the party. It is possible that some of our members are talking to him,” he said.