Botswana: Congress Demands Moitoi's Written Withdrawal

Confusion continued to bedevil the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) on Friday afternoon in Kang as the presidential elections were marred by confusion regarding the candidature of Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.

Though Venson- Moitoi had indicated that she would not attend the congress as it will seem she is legitimising it, she was still regarded as a presidential candidate as she did not write a letter indicating her withdrawal.

Head of elections Professor Mpho Molomo announced that since Venson-Moitoi was not present in the congress to accept the nomination, they will be no elections.

Former BDP Youth Wing chairperson, who is also a lawyer by profession, rushed to him and advised that it will be illegal to do that as she had not written to the Secretary General indicating her withdrawal.

BDP lawyers Bagopa and Manewe attorneys also stepped in and advised that elections must go on and Venson-Moitoi be regarded as a candidate.

While the delegates were caught in confusion, Secretary General Mpho Balopi announced Venson-Moitoi had called him and informed him that she is withdrawing from the race.

As the whole delegates burst into song and dance, the BDP lawyers indicated that it was still not enough to accept her withdrawal. They declared that a written letter was needed.

As the party leadership and lawyers were busy consulting each other, Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General Peter Magosi entered the tent and gave Balopi a piece of paper.

Balopi moved to the stage and announced that Venson-Moitoi had written a letter withdrawing and that she will later submit a typed letter.

Earlier in the morning, Magosi was seen at New Jerusalem camp having a talk with Venson-Moitoi and was not clear whether she gave him the letter during that time or later.

Venson-Moitoi, who lost a High Court case against the party on Thursday night, told journalists that she won't attend the congress as people were going to boo her.

"I don't want to be shouted at by little girls like Tebelelo Seretse! I won't legitimatise that nonsense congress," she declared.

Venson-Moitoi had gone to court demanding that councilors who mostly sponsored her presidential candidacy be regarded as delegates rather than members of the Electoral College. She also complained that she had not be provided with the voters roll and hence based on the irregularities she wanted the congress be postponed.

The party after intervention of the courts agreed to have councilors as delegates and accepted the 26 that were disqualified. She then wanted the congress to be postponed to July something that was not agreed to by President Masisi.

When accepting the nomination and endorsement as the party president, Masisi indicated that he was going to visit Venson-Moitoi's camp and congratulate her for the sterling campaign.

"She was at my house on Thursday morning and if I don't manage to visit her today, I will call her and ask for a meeting. We must now unite and work together as a party," he said to the applause of the audience.

When The Patriot on Sunday visited the NJ camp, Venson-Moitoi and her team were having a meeting and it was not clear if she would accept the olive branch from President Masisi.

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