New election date irks some BCP members

BCP members
BCP members

Some members of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are not happy with the party's executive committee's decision to reschedule the elective conference to October 23-24, 2021 without consulting the aspirant candidates.

The concerned members believe that the party took the decision to postpone and reschedule the conference without their consent which is an inconvenience for them. The members, who are aspiring for different party positions, also believe that the new date for the conference is too close as it does not give or allow them much time to campaign. “We have not been able to tour or visit different constituencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, the names of candidates for party positions have not yet been released by the party. It is important for us to know the names of delegates since one cannot campaign haphazardly without knowing who the delegates are. Not everyone at the conference votes but only delegates do.

There have been complaints in some constituencies on how delegates were voted but the party leadership has not yet told the members how the issues were resolved. This is unfair to the members of that area,” a concerned member who did not want to be named said. Another aspirant candidate also complained that the names of delegates have not been released and the issue disadvantages their campaign. “We had hoped that the party will inform or update us on the format that is going to be used to elect the candidates because COVID-19 is still there. Communication is key because this will help us also to keep on educating some members especially those who will take part in voting.

It is true we have not had enough time to canvass and we were only using social media platforms especially WhatsApp or Facebook to be in contact with our members. This makes us trust some of the people whom we believe support us to do the leg work for us. This kind of campaign in politics is dangerous because some individuals can campaign for all teams. Some do it deliberately so that they could ask for money to buy airtime and other things from all the different campaign teams,“ the source said.

The source further said the guidelines for elections have not yet been communicated, which is not a good sign for the aspirant candidates because even if people do follow what the constitution is saying, there are other guidelines that are norms of the party. The BCP secretary-general Kesitegile Gobotswang said the executive committee has agreed that the elective conference be held this month since the current leadership has overstayed by over a year. “We are going to hold a virtual conference and we will have a command centre in Gaborone where the party president Dumelang Saleshando will address the members before the voting starts. In all constituencies, there will be assembly points and ballot boxes will be there for voting. When members have voted, the results will be verified and sent to the assembly point and final results will be announced at the command centre.

There will be coordinators and election officers at the assembly points. Election officers should not be actively involved in the campaign teams and we have asked constituency committees to make sure that election officers are not part of any contesting teams,” Gobotswang said in an interview on Wednesday. He said the reason why some candidates do not know some delegates is simply because the voters' roll has been printed this week and it has been given to the election committee which will distribute it to constituencies and different teams may make copies for themselves. Meanwhile, on another issue, the party executive committee had taken a resolution that Stephen Makhura should be allowed to contest for party chairperson position since there were irregularities when the Kgatleng East constituency held its nominations. The issue came after Makhura complained to the party central committee about the manner in which the constituency has held its nominations.

The central committee ordered the constituency to hold fresh nominations, arguing the initial meeting failed to form a quorum. But the constituency has reportedly ignored the instruction. The campaign teams are led by Taolo Lucas and Daisy Bathusi who are both campaigning for party vice presidency.

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