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BDP moves to defuse ‘President’s Men’

Publishing Date : 11 June, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee has resorted to verifying the ongoing party’s primary election registrations following complaints from various constituencies that “some self-proclaimed” President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s blue eyed boys are given preferential treatment.


President Masisi’s vote of confidence in Young Turks found expression early this year when he appointed Bogolo Kenewendo, 31, to cabinet. She currently holds the important portfolio of Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry as full minister. Insiders reveal that a number of Young Turks vying for parliamentary seats in party primary elections have derived confidence to use his leaning towards youth to create the impression that they form part of Masisi’s envisaged 2019 cabinet.


The party central committee shared with some party members this week that it will now carry out massive registrations through the Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) in order to make the playing field level. “Ever since the complaints from constituencies, PEEC members have been travelling around verifying the voters roll with the names to avoid voter trafficking at the primary elections,” said a source close to the developments.


There have been complaints from incumbents particularly at parliamentary level that some candidates in the upcoming party’s primary elections who have planted the belief that they are President Masisi’s favoured candidates were given preferential treatment. The aggrieved lot believed that constituency secretaries, who are tasked with registering members, were biased and would swing things in favour of the so called president’s youth brigade side.


“There was vote trafficking across many constituencies and a number of clauses in the party’s code of conduct for candidates’ primary elections were trampled upon. This then forced the office to heed the call and go on a fact finding mission to verify if those registered are indeed party members and they correspond with voters roll,” the source said. This publication is informed that seven constituencies wrote to the party asking for redress. The said constituencies are; Nkange, Lobatse, Mahalapye West, Nata/Gweta, Francistown East, Francistown West, Molapowabojang/Mmathete and Tati West.


At the said constituencies, sources say, the officers were ‘convinced’ “to register only members believed to be sympathetic to Masisi’s preferred boys.” The party chief whip Liakat Kablay confirmed that indeed the party has decided to verify the registrations as there have been grievances from the party over favouritism.


“They were asked to write to the party offices over this of which they did. By far, the PEEC has been going around verifying and conducting massive registration for the party. The idea is to register all the BDP members in a particular area not to discriminate based on allegiance,” he said. Parliamentary hopefuls who are believed to be aligning themselves to President Masisi are alleged to be spinning money in the build up to the primary elections. Already the party has opened registration for the Bulela Ditswe with MPs popping up P5000 while councillors are required to part ways with P2500.


The registration will close on the 15th of this month. It is said thereafter the party will then enter another process of vetting candidates who will contest in the elections. The party which is aiming to ‘white-wash’ the opposition in next year’s general elections, has been advised by the committee of elders to ensure that they field sellable candidates to the nation come next year.


The BDP has also spoke against ministers who have the tendencies to schedule meetings during the parliamentary sessions. This, the party says, delays progress as there are over 16 bills that should be deliberated on before the end of this month. As the majority party in parliament, the members have been encouraged to regularly come to the parliament.


 “A lot of time is spent without progress made so the ministers were called on to stop holding meetings at the same time parliament is on. Even the backbenchers; have been advised to regularly come to parliament and to stop spending a lot of time on the floor if there is to be any progress,” said a source.

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