The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone back on its earlier decision not to accept back members who quit the party and contested general elections as independent candidates, popularly referred to as mekoko.
A BDP investigation headed by former MP Peter Siele and released at the July 2015 BDP Congress in Mmadinare found that during the 2013 Bulela Ditswe season, a record 108 complaints were lodged with the party about the primary election process resulting in another record 38 and 254 independent candidates (mekoko) for council and parliament respectively.
Re-admitting mekoko was one of the resolutions adopted by the BDP’s special congress over the weekend in Gaborone.
The BDP secretary general Botsalo Ntuane told a press conference yesterday that the delegates had very robust debates around the issue of readmission of mekoko. “The congress resolved that mekoko must be accepted back into the party without any conditions safe for them to abide by the party constitution. We had a lengthy debate around this critical issue,” said Ntuane.
Last year former party secretary general, Mpho Balopi told legislators and the BDP council that the central committee had taken a decision never to readmit independent candidates, especially those who were defeated after the primary elections.
Ntuane also said the much debated issue of reforms has been distorted. “This is a work in progress. The party resolved in Mmadinare to explore possible areas of electoral reforms. The party has no position of electoral reforms. We resolved that the party members should come up with ideas and submit them to Political Education and Elections Committee. Those ideas will inform the way forward. The congress was informed about the progress.”
The BDP members had descended on Gaborone for the special congress to discuss a lot of outstanding issues from the Mmadinare elective congress.