Hardly two weeks after accepting defeat for the chairperson position at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) elective Congress in Mmadinare, Tebelelo Seretse has launched a protest again outcome of the contest.
Seretse who lost to Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi by 219 votes to 582 has already written a letter to party President Lieutenant General Ian Khama indicating that she does not accepts the results citing some irregularities. The letter has been signed by all the candidates except Tati West Member of Parliament Biggie Butale who lost in the chairperson race.
According to those close to the former cabinet minister she is not happy at how the elections were conducted and the intimidation of some delegates which she feels led to her loss. While this publication is not privy to contents of the protest letter, one reliable source has revealed that Seretse is banking on the support from the other candidates who lost in the chairperson race being Moemedi Dijeng, Seteng Motalaote and Ramadeluka Seretse to support her should there be a re-run.
Ahead of the congress there was talk that other candidates were persuaded to drop from the race and support Seretse but refused saying their campaigns are already advanced. During the campaigns, Seretse and other candidates raised a concern that Masisi was using state resources to campaign and his campaign team members were intimidating delegates.
During the congress, Ramadeluka was alleged to have been manhandled by some members of Masisi team when he went to check his supporters at their lavish ‘camp Dubai’ set up in Mmadinare. Camp Dubai was the name given to Masisi’s camp due to its lavish goodies and most delegates are said to have relocated to it as there was free flow of food and drinks.
Seretse who was recalled from her ambassadorial post in United States of America,before the end of her term is said to be enjoying the support of BDP strongman Daniel Kwelagobe who endorsed her ahead of the congress. Recently in an interview the outspoken former Serowe South Member of Parliament,Seretse, hinted that she might challenge Masisi at a special congress where the party will elect a new president.
Masisi will be taking over as Botswana’s fifth President in 2018 when Khama retires benefiting from automatic succession which was introduced in 1998 by former President Sir Ketumile Masire. In the past sitting presidents were endorsed by all regions and should she challenge Masisi it will be for the first time in the history of the ruling party.
Seretse confirmed in an interview that she has written a letter to the party protesting the results but could not state the reasons saying it is an internal party matter. “Yes I have written a letter to the party protesting the results but I cannot divulge the contents as it is an internal party matter,” she said and referred this publication to the party new Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane.
She also confirmed that other candidates who lost in the chairperson contest, who are also her homeboys, being Dijeng, Ndelu Seretse and Motalaote have signed the letter. The three candidates only managed 345 against Masisi’s 582 votes. It is not clear why one of the candidates, Butale, has not signed Seretse's protest letter but shortly after congress he posted on his facebook page: "I did not do nearly as well as I had hoped getting a paltry 23 votes out of 1050. The whole election was a first of its kind in our party and a lot of "interesting" things were done and said! I whole heartedly accept the results and will move forward and continue to be a true representative of my people. My party has seemingly rejected me and my reform agenda platform. I commit to work with the new Central Committee to move the party and the country forward!"
The Mmadinare congress was not the first time Seretse lost the chairperson contest as she was beaten by her newly found political ally, Daniel Kwelagobe, at the Kanye-Kgoladisana congress in 2009. During that time she had the support of Khama who publicly campaigned for her against Kwelagobe.
BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane confirmed on Friday that Seretse has written a letter to the party protesting the results, “but I cannot saying anything further as it is still going through internal party structures and is not for public consumption.”