Venson-Moitoi's party presidential bid- a long shot


If constituency nominations for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s presidency are anything to go by, then things may not look good for Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s presidential bid. Mmegi Staffer TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE observes

Former Cabinet minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s bid for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidency might be lost even before the upcoming April Congress.

While it was expected that she would find favour in her backyard in the Central region, which was the first to hold congress before the national council, it was instead President Mokgweetsi Masisi who won nominations, scoring 86 votes to Venson-Moitoi’s 49.  One hundred and thirty-five BDP delegates voted at the Central region.

This is one of the regions where Venson-Moitoi was expected to win, moreso that she has the backing of  “Kgosikgolo”, former president, Ian Khama. 

The BDP has 14 regions and Masisi is said to have done well in seven of them. Already things are not looking good for Venson-Moitoi because she needs one of the regions to endorse her.

On Wednesday, the BDP secretary general Mpho Balopi told the media that already eight regions have held their congresses to nominate the name of the person they want as president of the party. Mmegi has learnt that Venson-Moitoi has performed dismally in all eight of these constituencies. 

According to Balopi, the constituencies that did not vote for her include South East, Bomase, Shoma, Gaborone, Francistown, and Northwest. “Some of these regions will hold their congresses over the weekend while others will hold theirs on March 9, 2019.

The only region that has not yet announced when it will hold its congress is North West. All regions are expected to submit their nominations in writing 24 hours before the congress,” Balopi said.

Balopi added that the regions would be presenting what people had agreed on at the structures and therefore there was no way one could go against that decision.

Political analyst Anthony Morima said even if Venson-Moitoi might not have done well in some regions, she should not give up or withdraw her candidacy for the presidential election.  “The reason why Masisi is winning is because BDP members have confidence and prefer the current President.

It is difficult for someone to win elections against a sitting President in politics. But democracy again should play its course. Contesting against a person does not necessarily mean one will win.

What is very important is for Venson- Moitoi to seek clarity on how elections are going to be conducted, if indeed the constitution is interpreted very well,” Morima said.

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”. 

However, it is not clear whether there will be any election conducted after the party secretary general announced how regions have nominated.

The issue of secret ballot keeps on pending when it comes to the issue.

What is clear is that, “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”.

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