BDP candidates withdrawals in full swing

The BDP released a list of its candidates who will battle it out in its primary elections PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The BDP released a list of its candidates who will battle it out in its primary elections PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has revealed that there is high interest from some candidates who were vetted in to contest in its primaries for both council and Parliament positions but want to withdraw their candidature.

Recently, the BDP released a list of its candidates who will battle it out in its primary elections both at council and parliamentary level. The vetting in of some candidates has, however, left a bad taste in the mouths of some activists who feel that they were not genuinely included in the list that was released by the BDP in late April. The BDP has, however, said that the list that was released by its central committee (CC) is final and cannot be challenged. Last week Thursday, the Vice President and chairperson of the BDP, Slumber Tsogwane, dangled a carrot through a declaration calling on aspiring primary election candidates to issue verifications that they do not have any criminal records in order for them to contest in its primaries to book their candidature to represent the party in hotly anticipated general election in October. In Botswana, elections are regulated by the Constitution, the Local Government Act and the Electoral Act. These legal instruments regulate people who are eligible and not eligible to stand for public office as presidents, councillors and legislators.

Explaining the rationale why the BDP tabled an offer to some of its candidates to pull out of the race before its internal polls, the party’ secretary-general (SG), Kavis Kario, said the CC has the final say on who shall stand in its primary elections or not. “We don’t want candidates who have serious past criminal convictions or those who are facing some criminal offences to represent the party in the upcoming General Election. If we field candidates who have past criminal brushes with the law to represent us and they later win in the General Election only for them to be recalled because their past criminal convictions and sentences warrants so as per the legal instruments governing who is fit and unfit to occupy public office, that will put the party in bad light. Therefore, as a party that takes itself seriously, we came up with a plan to do background checks on all our aspiring candidates because we don’t want the IEC to do what we could have done ourselves. We don’t want the IEC to be seen to be doing our bidding hence we have taken it upon ourselves to do due diligence on all our candidates,” said Kario. Kario also added that although the fee that all the BDP aspiring candidates paid to compete in its primaries is non-refundable, the CC took it in its stride to refund all its aspiring candidates who voluntarily withdrew their candidature. “The CC received few requests from some of the party activists who initially wanted to contest in its primaries but have now decided to withdraw their candidature. The CC has, however, decided to extend that gesture to others who had not expressed interest to withdraw their candidature. However, I can’t disclose (and/or provide) you with a document showing the number of our activists who had expressed interest to withdraw their candidature because that is an internal party matter (document),” Kario stated. Wading into the issue, the spokesperson of the BDP, Banks Kentse, also stated that interest from those who want to withdraw their candidature in the primaries was high.

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This decision follows the raiding of the office of the former Director General of the DCEC, Tymon Katlholo early 2022 and his staff officer by the DIS operatives who reportedly took files that they had targeted.After all back and forth arguments, the CoA has set the record straight giving an invaluable lesson to the DIS that it was no super security organ and it does not have any powers to cogently supervise other security organs including the...

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