Molale v Motsaathebe: BDP’s first Bulela Ditswe complaint case

TEFO PHEAGE

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s conflict prone Goodhope/Mabule constituency has registered a case just a week after the closure of the party’s primary elections registration, thanks to the unending war between Eric Molale and Fankie Motsaathebe over the constituency’s parliamentary seat.

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A letter addressed to Mpho Balopi, the party’s Secretary General, written by the Regional Chairperson, Selefa Ditshwane, seen by The Botswana Gazette raises among other issues the problems in Godhope/Mabule constituency.

At the core of the problems, the constituents are complaining about  familial relations between Branch Chair, Olefile Tlhobogang and Molale who are blood cousins. Motsaathebe’s supporters also criticize Tlhobogang for running the affairs of the party’s branch unilaterally, for being boolish and “amateurish”.

Motsaathebe’s supporters have raised complaints against Tlhobogang’s use of Molale’s vehicle which he is said to have used to conduct party business including registrations; a criticism he himself confirmed, saying they had been encouraged by President Ian Khama to ask for additional resources, should they need them, from Molale and Kitso Mokaila who are “party elders” in the constituency.

“It is true that we are using Molale’s car. He offered us the car as an elder in the constituency. He occasionally assists us when there is a need,” he said. Tlhobogang declined to comment when he was asked to confirm his relations with Molale.

“Who told you those things, I cannot answer that,” he said. However, when pressed to confirm or deny, he told the reporter to call him after five minutes but promised to  continue with the interview only if the question concerning his relations with Molale was left out saying he did not “see its significance”.

The Regional Chairman, Ditshwane, has also confirmed receiving complaints from Motsaathebe’s supporters.  “The news has already reached me and I have asked the complainants to compile evidence to me as well as the vehicle’s plate numbers for purposes of investigations,” he said regarding claims concerning Molale’s car.

The supporters suspect that the car is being used to register people in favour of Molale “who is seeking the constituency parliamentary seat allegedly by hook or crook (sic)” as a source pointed out. Motsaathebe’s camp is questioning the credibility of the registration process saying they were deliberately side-lined, a move which they say will haunt Molale and the BDP at the 2019 general elections, should the party allow the latter to do as he pleases like in the past. “Only a few people have been registered in Motsaathebe’s stronghold and out of 2000 members in Goodhope only less than 200 was registered,” sources pointed out.

Tlhobogang’s deputy Major Walker Motsamai, an ex-soldier like him, resigned from the branch committee recently accusing him of running the branch alone. “It did not make any difference whether I was there or not. He consults nobody (sic) and makes decisions alone. It was such a torture,” he told The Botswana Gazette, saying he had informed the Regional Chair of his reasons for resigning.

Mpho Balopi, the BDP Secretary General, confirmed receiving the complaint letter from the constituency, saying however that he had not given it attention and could there not share much on it. “I have the letter from the constituency but I haven’t had time to look at it,” he said.

Motsaathebe, Molale’s arch nemesis in the constituency, declined to comment on the issue saying “unfortunately I do not have answers to your questions my brother, please accept that,” he said. Molale himself could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

The disputed constituency has nine wards. Molale had previously beaten Motsaathebe by a close margin of 78, an outcome that was heavily protested by the latter who threatened court action over primary elections irregularities.

Motsaathebe’s supporters in a previous fall out with the party were heard singing the refrain of a popular regiment song “Tlotlang kgosi e kgolo banna…”, suggesting that they would support the opposition candidate and village chief, Kgosi Lotlaamoreng, who subsequently hammered Molale with a 1780 margin.