The intention is to inhibit us from seeking justice- Salakae
Former Member of Parliament for Ghanzi North, Noah Salakae is the latest member of the Umbrella for Democratic Change to be served with election petitions bill.
Last week Wednesday, Salakae was slapped with a P470 000 bill, P368 000 from Botswana Democratic Party Attorneys and P102 000 from Independent Electoral Commission.
The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA had a chat with the man who is eyeing the Botswana National Front Secretary General position for further clarity.
Q: We hear you have been served with election petition bill, share with us?
Yes I have been served with a huge bill despite having withdrawn my case at the initial stage.
I never wanted to go to court in the first place because I had no money but ordinary people who were following the events as they transpired in Gantsi during elections persuaded me to do it.
The people went further and called me when the truck with ballot boxes was leaving Ghanzi for Gaborone.
They were doing their best in seeking justice and I did as asked.
I took that decision because of the pressure I got from the public and the party leadership to pursue the issue further.
Q. At what stage did you suspect that pursuing the case was going to be costly?
At court during registration stage I was told that photocopying bill alone was going to exceed P24 000 and that is when I decided to withdraw, I didn’t go any further.
Q.Kindly breakdown the stages you went through?
Regarding the truck issue, there was never a point we met with the BDP lawyers, the only people who were there were the Registrar of Court.
Then again during the verification of votes both BDP and IEC were not there, so I am shocked at their huge demands.
Having studied the bill, I have realised that most charges are for when we were waiting for the case to be called to court.
Q. Do you think this a political motivated move?
Yes, it is clear that the intention is to inhibit us from seeking justice from our courts.
This is a clear sign that justice in Botswana is not for every jack and Jill. It is too expensive.
Q. How are you going to pay then?
I will have to involve the community since my move was not personal but trying to defend the democracy of the country.
If I can have 300 friends willing to donate P1000 each then I will be able to pay the bill.
This is shocking because the constitution allows us to approach the courts for justice and to seek recourse and yet the same justice comes at a huge expense. This is wrong!
Q. Having had such a bad experience, will you take part in the 2024 elections?
I would want to but then again that decision doesn’t depend on me entirely but the people of Ghanzi North as well.
If they show me that they still have confidence in me to represent them, I will gladly do it but you have to know that politics is not about parliament only but other options like party positions such as being Secretary General.
Q. If you lose would you consider engaging the courts?
To pursue justice is part of life, not only is this meant for opposition but the BDP too.
If government continues rigging elections then I would not hesitate to seek justice.
We are not fighting the BDP but just seeking justice. Those cases were in the interest of the public.
Q. Your name is always linked to other parties, are you not happy at BNF?
I will not join any other party other than the BNF; People always think that because I have friends in other parties then I will defect, I will not.
Even when the going gets hard I will not leave BNF for survival.
Even during trying times, I have never thought of leaving the party.
Q. You are speaking highly of the BNF but it has only two MPs, is there a future there?
Yes there is a future because the BNF political philosophy is anchored on the desire to pursue social justice for all.
Q. What about the UDC, how does the future look for the coalition?
Individual parties will decide on the UDC future. What you have to know is that Batswana want the opposition to unite.
Q. Lastly, what is your take on President Mokgweetsi Masisi as someone who worked with him in the previous government?
Truth be told, Batswana had given him the benefit of the doubt towards 2019 elections but he sold them false stories of investors, electric car, Disney World and many more.
He has squandered the public goodwill and it is upon us to take the country forward.
He is finished same as the BDP! Their time is up! UDC will take power in the coming elections and it is our responsibility not to waste that opportunity.
We just need to get our house in order.