A new petition purportedly signed by 51 Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members in the Francistown East constituency has raised fears reminiscent of the bogus 2013 petition in Francistown West where known dead people were said to have been part of 1000 petitioners who wanted the MP Ignatius Moswaane unbanned from contesting the by-election that year.
This time, a petition alleged to have been masterminded by parliamentary hopeful James Kgalajwe, surfaced accusing the area MP Buti Billy of a litany of transgressions that include confidential information leaking, corruption, factionalism and tribalism. To that end, signatories of the petition want the BDP Central Committee to intervene as a matter of urgency.
“It must be put to record that some ward committees never received registration books up to this date and we suspect voter trafficking in the current voter registration process. Our major suspicion is that the registration of the 52 books was done outside the constituency. As per the BDP general code of conduct most of these offences have been committee by the area MP,” the petition reads part.
While the purported petition is said to be authentic, some of its signatories Kealebetse Matolela, Lubiya Macala, Bone Motswetla and Adu Direkileng claim their signatures were forged and distanced themselves from its contents.
“I was not aware I was signing for the petition. Truly speaking these people have mislead us,” lamented disheartened Matolela who also claimed Kgalajwe was the mastermind of the petition.
Macala said he was not politically aligned and was not a member of the BDP. “I have a suspicion that my signature was forged,” he said, threatening to take legal action.
Another purported petitioner, Motswetla, said “ I can confidently say Kgalajwe that petition. I am saying this because recently after the meeting that was addressed by the party president Ian Khama, on our way from the meeting Kgalajwe promised to write such a petition. I can confirm that I signed the letter but I did not know that it was a petition that tarnish the name of our MP. Nkungwa just brought a book a told me to sign next to my names and I did that because earlier on she told me it is for the missing names in the registration books. I am now shocked by what has transpired. I wonder why they want to implicate us in their dirty games.”
For his part, Kgalajwe, the alleged mastermind of the petition declined to comment in detail only saying “I cannot comment on the letter that is written to our party Secretary General, if you want to know more you contact him.”
MP Billy Buti who is the subject of the petition expressed shock at allegations levelled against him. “I have just received the letter from our constituency branch and I am so puzzled about the allegations levelled against me. These are serious allegations that have tarnished my name and I am therefore still mapping the way forward,” he said.