The Botswana Democratic Party's (BDP) Gaborone Region could hold primaries for the 2019 general elections as early as next year, should a proposal to this effect go through at a special congress planned for November 28.
The early primaries are part of a slew of schemes the ruling party is employing in an effort to seize power in the capital city’s five constituencies, which have been in the opposition’s hands since the 1990s.
Yesterday, Mmegi learnt that the early primaries were among ideas emerging from the weekend meeting of the region, central committee members and party president, Ian Khama.
Some of the central committee members who attended the meeting include party secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane, deputy treasurer, Jagdish Shah, additional member of the central committee, Mpho Balopi and executive secretary, Merapelo Moloise.
Confirming the special congress for the region later this month, the BDP’s Gaborone regional chairman, Bontsi Monare, said the issue of early primaries was far from a done deal.
“We will discuss the issue of Bulela Ditswe (primaries) since we had proposed elections for Gaborone region to be held next year,” he said. “The issue is not final since all proposals that will be agreed at the special congress are going to be submitted to the central committee and party national council for approval.”
Monare said the region wants primaries for Gaborone held next year in order to provide more time to campaign and squeeze the opposition out of the area.
He refused to provide further details on the weekend meeting, saying the issues raised were “internal party matters”.
Mmegi has however learnt that some members at the weekend meeting told Khama that the National Youth Executive Council (NYEC) was not doing enough to help in campaigns and the recruitment of youth to the party. Insiders said Khama told the meeting he had instructed NYEC to report to him every three months so that he could know their activities and challenges.
It is understood Democrats also complained that they were not given enough time to air their issues as Khama only spent an hour with them, before spending another hour with the regional chairman and his secretary in a separate meeting.
Monare however declined to comment on the reports. “I cannot comment on that issue because what the members and the president said is confidential,” he said.