Will BDP members step up?


As the dust settles, it is now clear that those who once intended to contest the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) central committee positions have lost interest. Different dates for the upcoming BDP congresses have been announced.

However, the mood on the ground does not show much eagerness as it was the case before. The enthusiasm that usually fills up the party ahead of the elections for central committee members seems to have gone down this time around.

It is, however, not clear whether this is due to the fact that the dates announced are closer or members are just frustrated and disinterested because their preferred candidates have pulled out of the race. Those who have already pulled out include the current secretary-general (SG) Mpho Balopi, Lesang Magang and Thapelo Matsheka. Normally, key central committee positions that usually attract the interest of members when campaigning include SG, treasurer and chairperson. The team members that seem to have lost interest are the one that support Balopi, Matseka and Magang. As things stand, former minister of Health Dr Alfred Madigele is the only one still interested. “Yes, I am interested in the position,” Madigele said. However, Magang, Balopi and Matsheka confirmed that they would not be contesting. On the issue of the dates, Botswana Democratic Party's (BDP) President Mokgweetsi Masisi told members that the party congress will be held in August this year.

The mandate for the party central committee has long expired but could not be renewed by electing new party central committee members due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When addressing members over the weekend at Shoshong and Mahalapye (SHOMA) region congress, Masisi said the central committee is planning the party's national elective congress where free and fair elections will be held. “Our National Council will be held in July and therefore, by August, we will be able to hold the congress.

I hope all lower structures would have held their congresses. All our congresses should be peaceful and elections should be free and fair,” he said. Quizzed about the development at the BDP, the University of Botswana (UB) political analyst Mokaloba Mokaloba said it is still early to think that people are not coming forth to contest for central committee positions. "May be different teams are still looking for people who could contest for such positions. For example, even President Masisi himself is a man of factions; he will definitely look for people that are his to contest.

Again if we look at the BDP's history, it has capable people who might show up unexpectedly. I believe different teams are already trying to approach those key people they believe are capable to lead them.” He said even if the BDP has its own problems, it does not mean that some members could be afraid to contest because of internal fighting that is there. Mokaloba said once the teams have managed to identify people who could contest for positions, then the vibe of political campaigns will revive.

He further said, the delay to announce congress months and dates may have contributed also. Meanwhile, the BDP National Youth Executive Council (BDP NYEC) chairperson Karabo Gomotsegang said their congress will be held at the beginning of July if things go according to plan. “As youth wing, we are already planning and once dates are confirmed then everything will be sorted out. We will deliver free and fair elections to our members,” Gomotsegang said. Recently, the party’s Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) chairperson, Alec Seametso said they are on the right track when it comes to elections at lower structures.

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