Of primary election delays and independent candidancy

Within the BDP individuals aspiring to contest in the primaries have contributed to the breakdown of party regional structures PIC KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Within the BDP individuals aspiring to contest in the primaries have contributed to the breakdown of party regional structures PIC KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Delays by most parties in conducting primary elections could lead to a significant rise in independent candidates, as parties may lack time to address complaints arising from the inner party polls. As things stand it is only the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) that has completed two-thirds of its primaries, while other political parties are yet to hold theirs.

All other parties, including the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP), plan to hold their primaries next month, almost two months after the voter registration exercise had closed. In the 2019 General Election, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) reported 22 independent candidates for the National Assembly and 200 for Local Government. Political analyst, Lesole Machacha expressed concern about a potential increase in independent candidates due to tight deadlines and limited time for parties to resolve complaints. “The upcoming election has tight deadlines, which could lead to more independent candidates. Parties have little time to resolve complaints, which could lead to tension and frustration. This could have unpredictable effects on the outcome of the election,” he stated.

Machacha emphasised the need for parties to establish clear procedures for resolving disputes arising from primary elections, suggesting specific time frames for efficient resolution. “This way, the process can be as fair and efficient as possible,” he added. Despite acknowledging that parties cannot entirely eliminate dissatisfaction with the primary process, Machacha argued that having a transparent process is essential for supporting the democratic process. Meanwhile, the Umbrella for Democratic Change affiliates; namely the BPF, BNF, BPP, and AP are working to resolve internal issues related to constituency allocation.

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