Mmegi Online :: Khama ignores compromise list?
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Thursday 20 September 2018, 12:14 pm.
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Khama ignores compromise list?

NATA: Those who expected President Ian Khama to address Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Women's Wing 13th Congress on the hot potato that is a proposed compromise list were last Friday disappointed.
By Staff Writer Thu 20 Sep 2018, 17:33 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Khama ignores compromise list?








Khama did not come any nearer to mentioning the compromise list, which party women reportedly tailored a fortnight ago as a smart way of achieving the elusive peace in the party organ.

The same compromise list has been embroiled in controversy, with some sections of the BDP Women's Wing claiming that the current executive committee abused their positions to lock out other interested women.

When Khama took to the podium, it was anticipated that he would at least speak highly of the women's achievements or advise them on an all-inclusive compromise list. Although unity has been elusive within the women's ranks and generally in the party, Khama just mentioned the word "unity" in passing without directly referring to the Women's Wing. The in-fighting within women's ranks could be responsible for the poor turnout at the Nata congress. Despite the fact that the Women's Wing is the largest party organ, in terms of numbers, this was not reflected by the attendance. Nata was supposed to be completely painted red, but that was not to be.

Khama's attitude apparently came closer to confirming fears raised by some frustrated BDP women that the party leader was disappointed by the stance taken by the current Women's Wing executive committee. Although he was not forced, some women observed, "It's generally the tradition of the party that at gatherings like this one that the President preaches unity of purpose and congratulates women for achieving a compromise, which has been elusive in some party organs."

The expectations of some women that Khama would talk about the compromise list were clearly not far-fetched as the compromise has been his pet project. Any leader cannot hide his or her excitement once his/her wish is granted.

Aspersions were widely cast on the Women's Wing compromise list, which was sewn in Mahalapye a fortnight ago, with some women lobbying that open elections should instead be held to level the playing field.

As women discuss the President's speech, the issue of compromise may not surface, as it did not appear anywhere in his address. When addressing the congress, Khama dwelled on the role played by women in the BDP and the need for them to participate in large numbers in the party's primary elections and qualify to represent the party at both Parliament and council levels.

"From the days of its formation, when the party had no office, no vehicle, no paid staff, it was the members and I must point out, who were mostly women, who took care of party organisation and mobilisation," said Khama.

He hailed women as the pioneers of fund-raising initiatives and credited them for demonstrating a selfless volunteerism spirit whilst campaigning during elections.

"I can say without hesitation that women have been the

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bedrock of the BDP and continue to have a very central role in the existence and success of the party," said Khama and pointed out that the strength of his party lies in the hands of women.

The Pressident indicated that the role that BDP women play within the BDP is a reflection of the society. "...It's women who are sadly, mostly affected by social ills but it's also women who are at the forefront of government efforts to fight those social ills." Khama underlined that his government, "and I are determined to make sure that we continue to create an environment conducive to the well-being of women in this country." It was his promise that as the BDP gears up for the 2014 general election as well as its 50th anniversary next year, "we need to redouble our efforts towards ensuring that we get as many women through the primary elections as we possibly can".

President Khama told the congress that there must be something that they are not doing right. He encouraged them to identify the setback and work hard to address it. Addressing the congress, chairperson of the BDP Women's Wing, Angelinah Sengalo was elated that despite challenges, they were able to record some notable achievements.

The great achievement, she said, was the stability that reigned in the committee despite the formation of the BDP's breakaway party, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). "We remained focused and consistent," said Sengalo to a thunderous applause from the Nata Senior Secondary School hall, which is an architectural masterpiece.

Sengalo told the congress that the Women's Wings recorded successes came as a result of its harmonious working relationship with other party organs. In particular, Sengalo thanked Khama for his recent appointments of women to positions of significance like the High Court, appointment of women ambassadors/high commissioners and election of Dr Gloria Somolekae as a specially elected Member of Parliament (MP). Amongst its other achievements were charitable work covered which include donation to Masiela Trust, donation to Women's Shelter, building a house for a destitute and buying a mini bus for the Women's Wing.

Explaining the development, BDP Executive Secretary Dr Comma Serema indicated that Khama "knew very well that there was a resolution of the two councils on the compromise and could not dwell on the subject". He pointed out that Khama probably took it that it was a given after two Cabinet ministers, Kitso Mokaila and Mokgweetsi Kgosipula had addressed the BDP women in Mahalapye recently. Serema further said that probably the compromise list would be on the floor of the congress.

"Otherwise, the President would have made an overkill on the issue of compromise because it has come to pass."

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