FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is facing an internal revolt in the Francistown West constituency, which has the potential to slip into the hands of opposition on a silver platter.
The internal strife has dampened the spirits of aspiring parliamentary and council candidates in the constituency.
Also, in the corner of the parliamentary and council candidates are their campaign managers and teams who have vowed that should the BDP sweep the matter under the carpet, it may live to regret the decision.
The campaign teams have sworn that they would severely punish the BDP by voting for the opposition during the anticipated make-or-break general elections next year.
Some of the aspiring parliamentary and council candidates emphasised that the flouting of the members’ registration procedures and laws may tear the BDP asunder should the BDP head honchos treat the matter lightly.
They added that the BDP’s recent loss at Moselewapula ward in Francistown West constituency was caused by similar problems that they are now raising.
“Our leaders paid no heed to our concerns in the past hence we lost Moselewapula to the opposition. If they want what transpired at Moselewapula to repeat, they should just fold their arms and do nothing in relation to what we have raised in our letter.
“We don’t want the party to learn the hard way, but should matters come to a head, we will mobilise our supporters to vote for the opposition next year,” one of the concerned aspiring BDP parliamentary candidates said.
In a letter dated June 23, 2018 and addressed to the BDP’s Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) chairperson headlined, “Request for audit of voters’ rolls”, the dispirited party apparatchiks posit that the BDP’s member registration laws were flouted with impunity to favour some potential candidates over others.
Some of the concerned BDP members told this publication that the letter was faxed to the PEEC chairperson on Monday afternoon.
Curiously, the letter was signed by all five potential parliamentary and council candidates in Francistown West, but does not have the signatures of the area MP Ignatius Moswaane and his group of prospective council candidates.
The peeved BDP operatives accuse the PEEC deployee to the Francistown West constituency, Shimane Senwelo, of not heeding their plea of carrying out a thorough forensic audit of the voters’ roll in the constituency.
“…The reason why we need house-to-house audit of the voters’ roll is that when we relay (sic) our problems to the PEEC deployee, he does not address our concerns (sic) and want us to appreciate the voters’ roll in its current status, but we feel that he is doing something that is unconstitutional,” read part of the letter.
The concerned group is also worried about what they refer to as
The ghost registrations, the aggrieved cadres say, are registered without house numbers, identity cards and contacts.
They posit that only a thorough audit of the voters’ roll in the whole constituency will nip the issue of ghost registrations in the bud.
Another burning issue that the aggrieved members want addressed as a matter of urgency is the problem of cross-border registration of members by cell secretaries or committees.
They allege that some members are trafficked from other wards within the constituency to register in wards that they do not reside in.
The disgruntled group said that whenever they raise the issue with cell secretaries, the secretaries do not have a problem with correcting the anomaly, but their efforts are always frustrated by the PEEC deployee who seems to be reluctant to address the issue.
“This verification problem is very important because it shows voters who should be struck off the voters’ roll to ensure a free and fair election,” the letter stated.
The discontented BDP members are also crying foul that some secretaries are fraudulently registering voters without their consent.
They are also worried about the cosy relationship between Senwelo and Moswaane.
They allege that Senwelo is always seen at Moswaane’s place during the day and night at odd hours.
The concerned group further suspects that Moswaane and Senwelo’s multiple rendezvous do not serve any purpose but only to manipulate the voters’ roll in favour of Moswaane and his group of aspiring candidates so that they can prevail during the BDP primary elections in August.
Reached for comment about issues raised in the letter last week Tuesday, Senwelo said that he was not aware of any letter and has not seen any letter written by some unhappy BDP members in Francistown West.
He stated that he was on his way from Francistown to Gaborone to brief the PEEC hierarchy about his trip to Francistown.
Senwelo said that he was constrained by BDP protocol to answer questions put to him about the letter that this publication is in possession of.
“Although I would have liked to answer your questions, BDP procedures do not allow me to answer your questions.
The right people that can answer you are the chairperson of the PEEC Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri and the secretary general of the PEEC, Kabo Morwaeng.
“I am going to give my findings to my bosses when I arrive in Gaborone.
“As I speak, my superiors have not told me that there was a letter that was purportedly sent to them by some disgruntled BDP members in Francistown West,” Senwelo said.