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BDP suspends two executives amid electoral fraud

Publishing Date : 06 August, 2018


Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been hit by reports of electoral fraud, few days ahead of the crucial party primary elections in 38 constituencies which are currently held by the party.

Information emerging from Tsholetsa House reveals that two secretariat employees (names known to this publication) were suspended following a revelation that they had been involved in a plot to tamper with the voters roll. The plan, according to sources was a plot between some candidates and the two suspended employees to remove some voters who were known to be supporting rival candidates from the voters roll. Kgalagadi South was the most affected constituency with over 300 voters allegedly supporting Talita Monnakgotla removed from the voters roll.

Reports indicate that the one primary election contestant became a victim when about 300 of her supporters were struck from the roll. Bulela Ditswe, as the BDP primaries are known has become a source of dispute in the party, usually leading to disunity in general elections.
It is believed that the party’s 2014 general elections dismal performance was partly due to how the elections were conducted.  Bulela Ditswe created a rift between contestants in 2013 leading to significant number of candidates contesting elections as independent candidates.

The BDP had one of the worst electoral performances in 2017, losing an unprecedented 20 seats to combined opposition in 2014. The party’s popular vote plummeted to below 50 percent for the first time since 1965. Following disastrous performance BDP Central Committee tasked party veteran and former cabinet minister Peter Siele to lead a commission that would investigate the niggling primary elections and offer recommendations to the party
Siele was tasked with look at among others; if the system of Bulela Ditswe still working for the BDP; Why were there so many

problems; the nature of these problems; whether the system can be fixed and how and if the party still had to continue with it, and if not what is the alternative that can be pursued to unite the party. According to Siele report, during the 2013 Bulela Ditswe season, a record 108 complaints were registered with the party about the manner in which party primaries were conducted.

The findings of Siele commission were shared with the BDP central committee later and the recommendations are discussed at the 2015 Mmadinare Congress. The party resolved to retain Bulela Ditswe system nevertheless. The current problems, which have led to the suspension of the two employees, were raised by the Siele Report. Siele said the success of any election is dependent on having a credible voters’ roll with full security features.

According to Siele Report the voters roll lacked secure features and dishonest officials included and removed people freely. Other findings were that some candidates were denied access to the voters’ rolls while some were favoured. Bulela Ditswe was introduced in 2003, ahead of the 2004 general elections in the aftermath of the increase in the number of constituencies. This saw the party doing away with the committee of 18, which was initially the organ responsible for choosing a candidate who would contest a particular constituency or ward.



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