Many claim irregularities
FRANCISTOWN: The recently ended Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections have left the party facing an uprising from losing candidates amid claims of irregularities that marred the process.
Subsequent to the results of the primary elections that were held over the weekend some of the primary and parliamentary candidates who lost the elections did not accept the results claiming that they were not held per the party constitution. Similar to the aftermath of the 2013 primaries, many of the incumbent candidates were left reeling from the outcome. The ensuing protests left the ruling party in tatters with most of those who lost either joining the opposition or contesting as independent candidates. Already five candidates from different constituencies have rejected the election results claiming violations of the rules and regulations of the process.
In protest of the results Francistown East parliamentary candidate James Kgalajwe who lost to the incumbent area Member of Parliament (MP) Buti Honest Billy declared that accepting the results would be an injustice to his voters and all the people who wanted to send him to parliament. Billy won with 1312 votes against the 785 garnered by Kgalajwe. Starting with registration of voters the nominated councillor argued that there were too many hurdles that denied them the opportunity to freely registered their voters. “Considering what transpired ahead of the elections. I will not accept the results because this will be an injustice to my voters and the people who wished me to represent this constituency in the 2019 general elections,” Kgalajwe lamented, promising to make sure that justice prevails. Since the preparations of the primary elections started several months ago, the Francistown East constituency has been polarised by internal fighting over the alleged irregularities. The party office has already received numerous complaint letters from Kgalajwe and some of his sympathizers.
In the hotly contested Francistown West constituency one of the four losers that stood against the incumbent MP Ignatius Moswaane, Samuel Grembo Kealotswe also rejected the results arguing that he was denied the opportunity to register his voters. Moswaane retained the candidacy position of the constituency after garnering 1408 votes. His rivals Raoboy Mpuang, Tebogo Joseph Toteng registered 367 and 348 respectively. Another candidate Cornelius Gopolang registered 103 votes while Kago Phofuetsile got 96. Kealotswe garnered 539 votes.
“There was lot of trafficking by some council and parliamentary candidates. I have evidence that most of the people who voted in this constituency were trafficked from other constituencies like Tonota, Ditladi and Mabesekwa. Also if I was not denied the registration books maybe I could have trafficked just like they did. Though I raised complaints over these irregularities to the party office they were never addressed for the reasons I do not know. I am going to lodge a formal protest outlining all the irregularities that transpired during the whole process,” Kealotswe said in an interview following the outcome of the results. Still in the constituency three council candidates also rejected the results. The trio include the incumbent Botsalano ward councillor Zibanani Benfield, Barulaganyi Baka as well as Angelina Sengalo. The protestors promised to lodge formal protests with the party.
Bobonong MP Shaw Kgathi who is also the Minister of Defence Justice and Security and one of the incumbents’ MP who lost by a considerable margin, also rejected the results. Kgathi was walloped by Francisco Kgoboko with a margin of 3810. Kgoboko was voted by 5595 people while Kgathi garnered 1785.
Another constituency that is facing results protest is Kanye North. The constituency was hotly contested by five candidates against the incumbent Patrick Ralotsia who lost to Thapelo Letsholo. Letsholo won by 1878 votes ahead of Tlhomelang Leach Kemmapatse’s 266, Kenalemongwe Mopipi’s 132 , Victor Phenyo Makuku’s 293 while Julius Mpho Kamodi and Ralotsia got 216 and 1398 respectively.
Further South Kgalagadi North constituency’s Itumeleng Moipise also condemned the outcome. The incumbent MP lost to Talita Monnakgotla with 2139 against 1696 votes.
Reached for comment BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi stated that he is currently is not in position to talk about the just ended primary elections. “I cannot make a public statement before the Electoral Board signs and confirms everything that happened,” he said in an interview.