Reverting to the almighty 18: BDP’s dilemma

BDP’s current selection process of Bulela Ditswe is characterised by detailed, explicit and standardised rules 
PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
BDP’s current selection process of Bulela Ditswe is characterised by detailed, explicit and standardised rules PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Bulela Ditswe, which has come to breed discontent and internal wrangling, will be the major topic at the party’s national council this weekend in Palapye. With some regions of the party recommending dumping the controversial primary elections, Mmegi Staffer MOMPATI TLHANKANE looks back at their old electoral college system under which only a select few were eligible to vote, the Committee of 18

Before the inception of Bulela Ditswe in 2003, the BDP had an all-powerful Committee of 18 that decided the fate of anyone seeking political office on the party ticket. The Committee of 18 was the king-maker and enjoyed limitless powers. Its word was final. The committee screened prospective candidates and eventually handpicked a name which, in its perception would serve best the interests of the party.

The Committee of 18’s choosing process consisted of the meeting of the voters where they vote for a candidate they felt was good enough to represent the party at the general election. The committee basically ignored the will of individual members in their selection of candidates. The Almighty and party bosses as a result were sometimes accused of trading votes for power, benefaction, or even money.

Editor's Comment
Women in Politics caucus NGO, a welcome development

In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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