Some members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) are not happy with the North East Region elections that were held recently during the North East Region congress in Borolong.

The elections pitted Farayi Bonyongo and Kitsiso Mandevu for the chairmanship of the North East region. Bonyongo doubles as councillor for Nlapkhwane ward and chairman of the Tati East sub Council, while Mandevu is a former Councillor for Borolong ward.

“These were sham elections. One of the characteristics of a free election is secrecy. Instead of ballot papers, people were each handed pieces of paper as they sat in the hall. They talked to each other while the voting process was underway," said a disgruntled party member preferring anonymity for fear of reprisals.

According to the source, the fact that the people sat together and talked compromised the concept of a secret ballot which is the cornerstone of free and fair elections. The sitting arrangement allowed for an open season for a campaign, the source says.

“Over and above that, Mandevu's supporters are not happy that a lady working in Fidelis Molao’s parliamentary office was allowed to partake in the voting process and in full BDP colours.

“What she did is illegal because this was clearly a partisan activity hence out of bounds for civil servants such as her. Apparently, she voted. Interestingly, none of the party officials called her to order at that point,” said a Mandevu supporter, who accused some party Members of Parliament (MP) who took sides.

He warned the BDP to democratise its processes and be exemplary to all as the ruling party.

Contacted for comment, Moemedi Medupi, who conducted the elections, denied any irregularities.

“I am not aware of any complaints raised by anybody regarding the elections. The outcome was accepted by all,” said Medupi, who is also the chairman of the Francistown region.

In the end, Bonyongo prevailed over Mandevu, the former specially-elected councillor, who is also the former deputy NRDC deputy chairman. Bonyongo beat Mandevu by 61 votes to 53.