Political Parties Ready Up For By-Elections


Political parties are preparing for the upcoming by-elections while awaiting a writ announcement from the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Eric Molale.

The country has 11 vacant council seats that could have long been filled but were not due to the restrictive protocols induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the council seats have been vacant for more than three months, which state of affairs is against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Act that stipulates, "where a vacancy exists it should be filled within three months following the death or resignation of a councillor".

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary-general, Mpho Balopi said his party is ready for the by-elections and that they have proper structures in place to make sure party procedures are followed to select candidates. “[The] Political Education Office will go to those wards to ensure that they are getting ready to select candidates.

The BDP is organised and it will win those elections,” Balopi told The Monitor on Friday. The BDP deputy secretary-general, Shaw Kgathi also said the party central committee will decide on the process to elect candidates. Opposition's joint by-election committee chairperson, Phenyo Butale said as the cooperative opposition parties that include Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), they have long been ready for the by-elections. “Some of our structures have already started to find aspirants for some of the wards that have vacant posts. We have agreed that we are going to look at each party’s 2014 General Election performance and the one that succeeded the BDP with high votes will represent us. Again, it must be noted that the structures of that particular party will advise us if they have a candidate or not but it must be someone credible. Out of the 11 wards, there is good progress in four such as Boseja South, Ga Molapo, Tamasane and Mestimotlhabe. Our committee was able to meet with structures from those areas and we are yet to meet with the remaining ones to get feedback from them,” Butale said.

He, however, said expression of interest to represent the party is allowed from members, but they should know that the strength of the party is taken into consideration.

The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) could not be reached to check their state of preparedness. Earlier this year, IEC manager of elections affairs and field operations, Dintle Rapoo had said elections to fill the vacancies could not be held due to the State of Public Emergency (SoE). “Currently, we have 11 vacancies that have been officially reported. Some have been vacant for more than a year. For example, Boseja South ward in the Mochudi East constituency and Metsimotlhabe, which fall under Gabane/Mmankgodi constituency has been vacant for 18 months, Tamasane ward in the Mmadinare constituency has been without a councillor for 13 months, Ga Molapo at Goodhope/Mabule constituency has been vacant for seven months, while other wards have been vacant for three months or less,” he said. “Elections to fill the vacancies could not be held due to the SoE.

Therefore, the Act in the meantime remained suspended like other acts.” Rapoo added that because of COVID-19, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has not issued a writ of elections for any of the vacant posts.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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