Confusion reigns supreme ahead of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress as to whether Members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors can nominate a presidential candidate.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s camp is of the view that the legislators and civic leaders are delegates who cannot nominate a candidate as they do not have any mandate from any structure.
On the other side Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s team, which has been rejected by regions, is counting on some MPs and councillors to nominate her.
According to BDP constitution Article 29.1, when the party is in power, the president of the party shall be elected by secret ballot at a National Congress of the party called by the Central Committee during every general election year.
Article 29.2 states that “each Region may nominate and submit one name of an aspirant candidate in good standing from any Region to the Secretary General not less than 24 hours before the commencement of the National Congress”. On the other hand, Article 29.3 states that any other member in good standing of the Party may submit their name as an aspirant Candidate for the post of president of the party to the secretary general of the party, not less than 24hours before commencement of the applicable National Congress upon being sponsored, in writing, by not less than 50 delegates to the National Congress.
Venson- Moitoi is under pressure to ensure that she has a shot at the party presidency without support of not even Serowe region where she comes from. She has since approached the courts where she is seeking redress after claiming that the election of the Serowe region was not conducted in a proper manner.
The BDP constitution states that if any member is unhappy with party decision even the regional committee may appeal to the central committee within seven days, which Venson-Moitoi did not do as she believes the committee was conflicted.
The constitution also states that if anyone is unhappy during the congress, he/she may object and if it’s allowed to happen then they
Therefore, Venson-Moitoi needs to capitalise by using clause 26.4.2 of the constitution by campaigning to get eight (8) delegates from each branch selected in accordance with the rules made by the Central Committee.
These are delegates who could save her by meeting the required 50 delegates that are needed from the constitution to safe her.
It is not yet clear on who is leading in terms of delegates voted from the branches.
However a political analyst, who is also an attorney, Anthony Morima said in his view article 26.4 put the matter to rest as it recognises MPs and councillors as delegates and therefore they do not need any mandate from anyone.
“This article qualifies them to sponsor any member who wants to be party president. The issue of delegate is not complicated because articles support each other on who is a delegate,” Morima said.
“MPs and councillors should be allowed to sponsor/ write/ nominate a name of anyone in writing who wants to be a president to avoid internal fights in the party. Even elected delegates are not forced to abide by the decision they took at the regional congress,” Morima said. The National Congress shall be attended by: all the members of the National Council state at Article 27.3, all Councilors, all the above shall have voting rights at any National Congress.
The National Council is attended by the following members; Central Committee, MPs who are members of the party, all regional chairpersons and secretaries, all branch chairpersons and secretaries and all members of the inner Executive Committee of the Youth Wing of the party, all members of the inner executive committee of Women’s Wing Committee of the party.