Lights dim in Venson-Moitoi's challenge


As the hour of the historic and acrimoniously contested Domkrag election approaches, the challenger Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s chances look slimmer by the day.

The Serowe South legislator has, thus far and to start with, failed to raise delegates from her constituency, only getting backing from Serowe West and others from around the country.

While it is expected that Venson-Moitoi will muster 50 delegates to get a nomination to challenge President Mokgweetsi Masisi in Kang, it is doubtful if she will pull 600-plus to pose a threat to the incumbent.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) constitution provides that a member in good standing of the party may submit their name to the secretary general of the part as an aspirant candidate for the post of president.

But the constitution has never anticipated that any sitting President will one day be challenged.

The constitution is mum on the procedures, rules and regulations that are supposed to be deployed when there are elections for party president and how candidates are supposed to behave.

In its history of 57 years, BDP members have never challenged the sitting President. It only happened this year after  Ian Khama retired from the presidency.

The branch elects eight delegates, and the branch secretary and chairperson also vote by virtue of their positions.

So far Venson–Moitoi does not have support from BDP committees and therefore has to campaign intensively to solicit support from the voted delegates.

She also needs to seek votes from councillors, MPs and Cabinet ministers.

The deadline for all 57 branches to have submitted names for delegates was reached yesterday. 

The voters’ roll that will be used at Kang is expected to be ready by Wednesday or Thursday.

“Masisi’s campaign team is sure of more than 40 branches whose delegates support him. The BDP members feel that the party should preserve its history because this is a critical year for it. 

The members feel that if Masisi could lose elections at Kang, then a wrong precedence would be set by members and people might lose confidence in the party,” the source said. 

The source said the members believe that Masisi should be allowed to rule for another 10 years just like other party presidents.

Other sources said if the current president wins at Kang, he should try to unite democrats and reconcile with Venson-Moitoi team.

Political analyst Anthony Morima said: “It is good that democracy has been allowed to prevail. It has also been clear that chances for the current president to win are high and Venson-Moitoi’s chances are slim.

People must accept that democracy must be allowed in organisations and they should not castigate nor insult one for exercising it. 

The constitution is allowing members to contest for presidential elections, and therefore it is not a sin for one to express one’s interest”.

Morima said the pattern in which delegates were voted along, has shown that Masisi would win with what margin.

“What is not clear is whether Ian Khama’s magic may work for her or that the people respect the former President as an individual. Things will become clearer on Thursday whether Venson-Moitoi solicited enough votes or not.”

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