BDP elective congress faces likely opposition

Even though the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Council over the weekend resolved to have the Central Committee elections slated for July this year to be postponed to next year, the decision is not final.

The reason for that likely turn of events is that some members of the party want the elections to take place and they are also ready to lobby others to oppose the postponement.

According to the BDP constitution, the National Congress is the supreme body with powers to decide on postponing the elections. All the decisions or recommendations made by the National Council have to be tabled and debated at the congress in July for endorsement. The congress is the only body, which can give or renew the mandate of the old central committee. Some concerned members of the party believe that if the postponement of Central Committee elections succeeds, it might worsen the rifts in the party.

“ We are not surprised about the resolutions from the National Council because some leaders have been influencing the regions to sponsor such a motion. For them to win again on this motion, they would have to influence delegates and campaign even more. The BDP has held elective congresses during elections even when divided but it has done pretty well,” a source said.

The BDP subcommittee on communication, chairperson Kagelelo Kentse confirmed that all national council decisions would be tabled at the congress where there will be debated. “National congress is the highest decision making body which will make final decisions on each resolution which is before it. Any decision that would be taken by the national congress will be binding to all BDP members and central committee will have to implement it,” Kentse said.  In another matter, Tati East legislator Samson Guma Moyo who has already expressed interest to challenge Mpho Balopi for the secretary general’s position has said he would accept whatever decision the party makes. Moyo is currently on self-imposed exile in South Africa after he fled the country claiming that he was told there were people who wanted to kill him. Yet another candidate, Roseline Panzirah-Matshome who is contesting for the position of  deputy secretary general said she was not surprised that the impending elections are likely to be postponed.

“Things have not been run well in the party lately. I will not be surprised if the council made a decision to postpone the elections when it is the congress which is supposed to do so,” she said. 

Panzirah-Matshome also said she would not stop campaigning until the day of the congress. The party has summoned Moyo and Panzirah-Matshome for disciplinary hearings following an alleged illegal gathering in Serowe in February this year.  The two campaigned alongside Pelonomi-Venson-Moitoi and former president Ian Khama. Khama and Venson-Moitoi who was challenging President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the presidency of the party were not called for disciplinary hearing.

Mmegi has learnt the reason why some members want the elective congress to be postponed is because they believe that it might bring more divisions in the party and it would be costly for it to ensure that members goes through counselling process after losing. Some members said already party presidential elections were dirty and party is still trying hard to reconcile the members.

“We are yet to see if Venson-Moitoi and Masisi reconciliation would work failing which Council of Elders will have to step in. The move is done on the best interest of the party. It would be unfortunate if some read malice on it,” the source said.

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