- “ BCP Women’s league president let me down”
- Feels BCP leadership have no regard for her
- Says UDC not practicing what Boko preaches
The independent candidate at the upcoming Tshimoyapula Ward by-election in the Serowe North constituency, Chibuya Dabutha, has expressed disappointment at the way her party, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has abandoned her to rally behind Botswana National Front (BNF) candidate Modala Modala.
Speaking to The Botswana Gazette on Monday, Dabutha said she suspects that the BCP is in cahoots with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to sabotage all her efforts to go to council. She said she had initially used the green colour to go with her shield symbol during campaigns but to her surprise the IEC instructed her to stop using green because BCP President Dumelang Saleshando had complained to the IEC about her usage of the colour as it is synonymous with BCP. Dabutha said while she felt the decision was unfair, she nonetheless complied and changed her colours from green to purple. Just when she thought the matter was settled, Dabutha said she received a call from the IEC yesterday (Monday) instructing her yet again to stop using the colour.
She said says she was baffled by IEC officials when they told her that no one had complained about her use of the purple colour but that they were only worried “someone” might come forward and raise a complaint. She said IEC officials even threatened not to use her portrait on their elections advertisements which are soon to be aired on national television. Dabutha said she does not feel she violated any electoral laws by having her supporters go around campaigning in colours similar to those of other parties for as long as their regalia does not bear symbols of those parties. ‘‘I don’t even think they have patented these colours for them to claim exclusive use of them,” she said. Dabutha told this publication that she has audio recordings of BCP leadership planning to de-campaign her in one of their meetings in Serowe. Saying it is unfair of the BCP to ostracize when her supporters voluntarily buy green t-shirts from shops and rally behind her. ‘‘My supporters buy these t-shirts on their own and brand them with my name and symbol and I don’t see anything wrong with that,’’ she said.
For their part, IEC officials in Serowe confirmed on Monday that they had indeed asked Dabutha to stop using both green and purple colours in her campaigns. This, they said, was because when she registered with the IEC, she had submitted black and white as her official colours and as such they expect her to stick to the colours they had approved.
Dabutha also said she felt let down by BCP Women’s League President Daisy Batusi as she had expected her to fight in her corner to bring more women representation in the leadership of the party. She blamed her party leadership for not even bothering to address her request to represent the UDC. ‘‘I asked my party to plead with the UDC to allow me to stand even though this ward was allocated to BNF but they just ignored me,’’ she said. Dabutha says the UDC is not practicing what its president, Duma Boko, has been preaching that constituency allocation is not cast in stone and strong candidates will always be given priority where their parties have not been allocated a particular constituency.
Dabutha said she has been working hard in the constituency long before the 2014 elections and she considers herself a strong candidate when compared to BNF’s Modala. BCP has slapped Dabutha with a suspension from the party pending a disciplinary hearing for contesting the by-election independently while she is still a party member.