Heartbroken Bangwato royal and MP for Serowe North West Tshekedi Khama has come out with guns blazing, accusing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Mpho Balopi of colluding with his detractors to campaign against him.
In an interview after the High Court ruled against him, the man popularly known as TK said he faced the same predicament in Bulela Ditswe 2013 when he raised concerns that his then opponent Prince Kgwaneng was breaking the primary elections rules and regulations. “Remember that time Balopi was the SG and the same issue has come up again this year. He is in that same position again,” said an evidently disappointed Tshekedi. He said although he is not happy with the judgement as it failed to address the issue he raised, he is confident of winning the primary elections when results are announced on Sunday morning.
“I am very confident that I will win the primaries. I can’t be beaten by Dijeng, no! that won’t happen,” he said confidently. In 2013 Khama won the primary elections with a landslide victory beating Kgwaneng by 3081 against 665. Efforts to get comment from Balopi were futile as calls to his mobile phone were diverted showing that he is on international roaming. He did not respond to the short message text sent to him.
Tshekedi loses with costs
Tshekedi's frustrations emanate from a humiliating loss with costs on Friday against Moemedi Dijeng in a case in which he wanted his opponent in Bulela Ditswe (Dijeng) disqualified. Delivering judgment in the urgent application on Friday, Lobatse High Court Judge Modiri Letsididi ruled that there is nothing unlawful and/ or illegal in Dijeng's approval by BDP Central Committee after Serowe West Branch Committee vetted him out.
Seeking to downplay the outcome of the case, which would have reduced his opponents to only one- Keletso Rakhudu-Tshekedi said he only sought clarity on the interpretation of section 2(e) of the BDP constitution. He said he was not appealing the decisions and was ready to face Dijeng and Rakhudu on Saturday, who were said to have made major inroads into the constituency ahead of Bulela Ditswe. “Maybe I should have not raised a complaint with the Central Committee but went ahead and apply the same tactic of campaigning before the writ was issued,” he said.
Tshekedi was suing the BDP Central Committee for allowing Dijeng to contest the primary elections despite that he had been disqualified during the vetting process by the branch committee. According to Khama's lawyers Dijeng should be disqualified from contesting Bulela Ditswe because he acted in a way that contravened the rules and regulations set out for primary elections. The Disciplinary Committee had also confirmed the disqualification of Dijeng.
BDP lawyers argued to the contrary, insisting that the Central Commitee is the highest decision making organ in the party and had carefully considered recommendations from the branch commitee. In the end the Central Committee overruled the branch committee and allowed Dijeng to contest, a decision which according to the BDP constitution is final.
Ironically, the same branch committee had also disqualified Tshekedi during the vetting process but he too was pardoned by the central committee. He was disqualified based on the finding that he has never visited the constituency ever since he was elected in 2014, a point which could have forced him to rush to court to block Dijeng. Tshekedi is the Minister of Environment, Conservation, Natural Resources and Tourism.
Since Rakhudu and Dijeng expressed their interest in the constituency, TK has enlisted his elder brother, former President Ian khama to help in the campaign as he was facing a stiff challenge. There have been complaints from the constituents that he rarely visits his constituents and attend party activities in the constituency.