Civil servants free to partake in BDP’s Bulela Ditswe

04th October 2017
BUSINESS AS USUAL: Fish Pabalinga says the BPD primaries will go on as planned. Source:The Midweek Sun


By Kemoreilwe Jimson - Reporter

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) says it will not block civil servants from participating in the primary elections. In the next two weeks, the party will be holding its first phase of elections in the constituencies held by opposition. Speaking in an interview, Chairman of Communications and International Relations, Fish Pabalinga said nothing has changed. The party will continue with its plan to hold primary elections on the 21st of this month.

“If something changes party members will be updated. This is because the court was not stopping the party from holding elections but to validate whether civil servants can participate in the elections,” said Pabalinga. Last week, Judge Isaaac Lesetedi said it is difficult to handle the matter before end of October. The matter is going to be roll-called on Friday to see if any acceptable date may emerge if any listed appeals are postponed or withdrawn. Justice Lesetedi stated in his judgment that the application could have been filed in the first part of August 2017.

Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Eric Molale and Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi through Attorney General were appealing a decision of the High Court delivered on the 27th July 2017, in which the High Court held that section 5(5)(b) of the Public Service Act does not prohibit public officers from participating in political parties primary elections. The case was brought by Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) and National Amalgamated Local Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU) against government.

NALCGPWU was represented by Mbogi Chilisa while government was represented by Matlhogonolo Phuthego. It was launched in 2014 by the two unions. “The next general elections are expected to be held in October 2019, about two years into the future. There is nothing before the Court to show that any great harm could have been suffered by, for instance, delaying the October 2017 primaries for a month to enable the Court to properly deal with this appeal on a matter of significant importance, said Justice Lesetedi.

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