The Botswana Democratic Party's (BDP) political education and election committee (PEEC) will next week deploy cadres in 11 'headache' constituencies as preparations for party primary elections intensify.
The PEEC was forced to act on realisation that some Members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors were intimidating, even planning to block membership registration of new members in these problematic areas.
The BDP primary elections, better known as Bulela-Ditswe, will be held on August 11. The constituencies of Lentsweletau/Mmopane and Thamaga/Kumakwane have been identified as trouble-prone and are amongst the areas the PEEC will visit and monitor. According to sources close to the developments, PEEC briefed congress at Botho College over the weekend that it has decided to do what they call open mass registration for everyone to register in those areas.
“PEEC will make sure that candidates and party structures attend when verification takes place. It will be the one distributing the membership cards to avoid complains from the candidates. This will make things easy for voters’ rolls to be compiled,” the source said. The source said in some instances, some MPs were denying other contestants an opportunity to register new members while some were using some structures to block registration for other members.
At Thamaga/Kumakwane constituency, it was reported that the candidates do not even talk and the PEEC was tasked to go and reconcile the members. The BDP communication chairperson, Lesedi Dintwe confirmed that PEEC would next week deploy some people to their troubled constituencies.
“It should be understood that PEEC has been finding ways of solving any kind of problems they encounter when preparing for primary elections. Open mass registration allows every candidate to register freely and openly,” Dintwe said.
The BDP president, Mokgweetsi Masisi in his speech last Friday admitted that there are some teething problems in their preparations for Bulela Ditswe. Masisi said PEEC has reported cases in some constituencies where branches and interested parties engaged in unfair practices that register only those members perceived to support or favour particular candidates.
“To resolve these
He said the 39 BDP-held constituencies are deemed strongholds of the party and likely to attract a large number of contestants in the primaries because of the better prospects of winning the general elections on the party ticket.
He continued; “regrettably, previous fortunes in these areas have turned out to brew more controversy and contestation from unsuccessful contestants. Therefore, I plead with you to accept in principle that even with the above efforts to achieve free and fair elections in an election, there can only be one winner”.
He urged the members not to allow their personal aspirations and prospects of office to derail them from the objectives and principles they have sworn allegiance to.
Masisi said they had discussed the findings and recommendations of the Peter Siele report of 2013 and adherence to it will assist them in pursuit of post electoral stability of the party.
The congress also reminded some councillors and MPs who have been defaulting on their monthly subscription fees that they will not be allowed to contest while owing the party unless one has cleared of their debts.
Dintwe said the issue is a long-standing obligation that binds every MP and councillor to do so.
“An MP or Councillor has to give a good reason to the party on why he/she has been defaulting and pay the outstanding balance. It is true some MPs and Councillors are owing the party their monthly subscription fee,” he said.
MPs pay monthly subscription of P250 while councillors pay P150.