Return of the Prodigal son

Many voters are waiting with bated breath for President Ian Khama to issue a writ for the Tlokweng constituency bye- election.

Tlokweng fell vacant when the area MP, Same Bathobakae of the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change died last year.

Some political pundits have argued that Khama is deliberately delaying the issuance of the writ because of the alleged factional in -fighting within his party, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

This week Voice Reporter, SHARON MATHALA Visited Tlokweng where she interviewed the BDP parliamentary hopeful, Elijah Fashion Katse who was suspended towards 2014 General Elections.

Katse together with three other councilors were suspended for taking the BDP together with Khama to court for having set aside their primary elections victories.

BDP had set aside their results following allegations of vote rigging.

Though he was later reinstated, he missed the chance to represent the party at the general elections.

Q. You had a fallout with the party leadership sometime back, but now we see you back and very much in the game, still fighting, what happened and what will be different this time around?

Just like any other household, yes it is no secret there were troubles between the leadership and myself.

We have put all of that behind us; they saw that I am a man of principle and that through it all I maintained my loyalty to the party.

Q. There are also talks of infighting within the party which has delayed the office responsible from issuing the date for the by –election.

That is just opposition propaganda. We have heard those speculations too; they are just trying to divide us.

There is absolutely no truth in that. They say that the team that supported Rre Puso Gaborone is not with us, but that is not true, we are as united as ever.

Q. Mr. Katse, The Voice has been attending your rallies over the past weekends, but there was notably lower attendance as compared to your counterpart, does that not worry you?

Not at all, if you recall we have only hosted one major star rally so far, which was two weeks ago.

The vice president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, chaired the star rally and I must say the turnout was more than reasonable.

And talking of my counterpart those that fill their rallies are not necessarily voters but supporters trafficked from other constituencies, they are not Batlokwa so the numbers do not affect us at all.

We are targeting the voters and in this instance, Batlokwa.

Q. Arguably another controversial factor in today’s politics, the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was supposed to be launched in Tlokweng a few weeks ago but the launch was postponed for unexplained reasons. What are your views on this somewhat controversial machine?

I really have no problem with it. The machine will actually be introduced to Batlokwa next week.

The launch was simply postponed, not cancelled altogether.

I am of the view that the machine is just meant to speed up the tedious process of voting, enhance efficiency so to speak, so I welcome it with open arms.

Q. On the question of the alleged delay in issuing a writ, what is your position on a president of an interested party being the one to issue out a writ? Shouldn’t the powers to issue a such a writ lie entirely with the electoral board?

Personally I believe that it is a topic for debate. If I had the powers I would stimulate the debate in parliament for lawmakers to argue their points.

I do not think it’s fair but again I am not saying it wrong. It’s a topic that is debatable really.

Q. Can you be a bit clear for our readers Mr. Katse; are you saying the playing ground is level when the leader of your party, President Ian Khama is the one who decides the most important factor in the game of elections? The Writ?

What I want you to understand is that this is not new; it has been there all along.

And I am saying that should I go to parliament I would welcome the debate to either change that law or maintain it.

Q. But is the delay worrying you?

The delay is definitely hurting our pocket. As you know every day we are campaigning and that does not come cheap.

But then again it is working for me indirectly because we had to go through primaries to end up here so we had a shorter campaign period as a party, whilst the other party had long decided who will represent them, which afforded them a relatively longer time to campaign

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