The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) has launched an investigation into a dispute surrounding the allocation of wards in Selibe Phikwe West, following a complaint filed by an interested candidate who claims that the party’s interests are being compromised by the area MP Dithapelo Keorapetse.
In a letter dated January 9, 2024, and addressed to the BPF National Executive Committee, the concerned candidate raised several allegations, asserting that the party’s protocol for ward allocation was not adhered to during the recent meeting held on January 6.
According to the complainant, Lucas Moshokgo, the UDC procedure requires all parties to convene and allocate wards. However, during the scheduled 5th meeting on January 5, the committee failed to achieve a quorum, prompting the rescheduling of the meeting to January 6. Present at the rescheduled meeting were representatives from BPF, Alliance for Progressives (AP), Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), and Botswana National Front (BNF).
During the meeting, concerns were raised about the conduct of MP Dithapelo Keorapetse, who allegedly led the proceedings in a manner deemed unfair by some members. According to the complainant, one Mr. Ronny, expressed dissatisfaction with the interference of MPs and the disproportionate attendance of Hon. Keorapetse.
The letter however states that he was reminded that the dominant party should receive 60 percent representation, primarily comprising former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) members.
A further grievance was raised against Aron Sefho, a regional chair of AP, who also expressed interest in the Kopano ward despite not being a resident of Selibe Phikwe West. The complainant contends that Sefho relocated to Mmadinare in 2019 after losing the general elections, questioning his eligibility for representation.
“As BPF members we are certain that we have a strong hold on Kopano ward. To our shock, Keorapetse decided to give Kopano ward to Sefho of AP who has long left to Mmadinare since 2019,” further reads the letter.
The most contentious issue emerged when Keorapetse allegedly delegated wards without proper consultation, with one instance being the awarding of Thakaadiwa Ward to Victor Gabatshwane as a purported reward for loyalty.
“During the meeting Keoprapetse delegated some wards to the interested candidate without proper consultation. For instance he gave Thakaadiwa Ward to Victor Gabatshwane and he stated that it’s a reward for his loyalty,” wrote Moshokgo.
Reached for comment, Keorapetse was of the view that “the issue is a BPF matter” advising that “the questions may be sent to the BPF to explain”.
The complainant claims that, despite BPF’s strong hold on Kopano ward, Keorapetse awarded it to Sefho of AP, who has been residing outside Selibe Phikwe West since 2019. According to the complainant, “during the negotiations, only BPF sent committee members, while other parties were represented solely by MP Keorapetse”.
The outcome of the negotiation, as alleged by the complainant, resulted in UDC receiving four wards, with AP, BPF, and BNF each getting one. The letter concludes with a plea for intervention from the BPF National Executive Committee to ensure peace, tranquility, and fairness in the matter. The BPF was not available for comment.
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