No secret ballot at BDP first presidential poll election

BDP members are meeting at at retreat next week
BDP members are meeting at at retreat next week

While many Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) legislators have not come out to show whom they support for the party’s presidency, their votes will be no secret. Former minister of Local Government and Rural Development Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is challenging the incumbent, Mokgweetsi Masisi for the presidency.

Mmegi has learnt that the extra ordinary congress billed for March will show the 14 regions had elected their preferred party president openly. Even though the BDP constitution Clauses 29.1 and 29.3.1 state, “When the party is in power, the president of the party shall be elected by secret ballot at a National Congress of the party called by the central committee during every general election year”, chairperson of Communication and International Relations, Kagelelo Kentse said the issue of the secret ballot could only apply when there is a tally on how the regions had voted.

“This is the first time for the party’s sitting president to be challenged. The party has never had presidential election because the members did not challenge the president,” Kentse said.

“The regions should have submitted the name of the person they chose or preferred to be their candidate less than 24 hours before commencement of the applicable national congress.” “The party secretary general at the congress shall publish the names of the aspirant candidates on the notice board for the benefit of every delegate at the National Congress. The party did seek legal opinion on the matter and how elections will be conducted.”


Kentse said if the regions voted one candidate with over 50% then automatically that candidate would be announced as the winner. He said the regions are supposed to hold regional congresses to nominated the committees if their mandate expired and they will also take a decision on the issue of presidency.

The party central committee is expected to meet after the party retreat, which will be held in Palapye on February 2, 2019 to determine the date for the extra-ordinary congress. Therefore, this means that the two candidates will have to work hard on the ground to convince their members to vote for their preferred candidate at the regional congress. Both presidential candidates, according to the constitution, are forced to write a letter to the party secretary general informing him of their desire to contest for the position. They should also submit the name or names 24 hours before the commencement of the National Congress.

Expected to grace the retreat are over 1,300 BDP members including former presidents, former legislators, current legislators, 2019 candidates and regional representatives of the party.

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