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BDP top hierarchy warn MPs

Publishing Date : 11 November, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), through its Secretary General, Mpho Balopi has lashed the new party legislators barely a day after being sworn in the August House for defying the "party caucus consistently”.


According to Balopi, the unknown MPs acted in cohorts with the opposition to undermine the party and its constitution. “Following yesterday’s vote for Specially Elected Members of Parliament (SEMP), it is clear that at least one person defied the caucus consistently and at some point two others did,” Balopi alerted the 38 legislators before lashing them. “For a party that runs on consultation and the rule of law, this is extremely disappointing and worrying especially in these early days.”


While it is still not known as to who could have disobeyed the party agreement on Sunday last week, it appears there were members within the party who were not content with the six names President Mokgweetsi Masisi put before for nominations. According to insiders, MPs are of the view that they should have also been accorded an opportunity to suggest names or at least, Masisi should have presented a pool of names they could select from.


Unity Down, who was elected to parliament through the same dispensation in 2014 by former President Ian Khama, after losing 2014 elections but ultimately given the Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Cooperation, was voted by 36 MPs out of BDP’s 38. This indicates that two members within the party did not give their blessings for her continue as the specially nominated. 21 members abstained on election of Dow, while one vote was spoilt.


Apart from Dow, Kgotla Autlwetse, Philda Kereng, Beauty Manake, Kefentse Mzwinila and Peggy Serame were all voted for by 38 MPs-presumably all from the 38 BDP MPs in parliament. Owing to the development, Balopi has taken the MPs who are dominantly new, through the party processes. “I must hasten to remind you all that the caucus we held on Sunday 3rd November 2019, was a meeting sanctioned by Section 31 of the BDP constitution,” he said.


 He went on to caution them that the decisions reached at a caucus are binding on each member as per article 32.1, of the party constitution. “Any deviation from caucus decisions is a contravention of the BDP constitution,” he sternly warned. Observers however, believe that the decision to defy the party caucus might be done by the senior members within the party. “The party has more faces and after their somehow surprise victories, there is no how they would vote against the party will. Only the senior members are capable of doing so because they have worked with her [Dow] before, in the 11th parliament,” political scientist Dr Teedzani Mpaphi posited.


Currently, legislators are in Kasane for retreat and orientation on the business of parliament, including standing orders and general rules. Meanwhile the BDP has reminded their members that the party membership is a heavy responsibility that demands selfless dedication. “This is a reminder that our individual interests should not undermine the collective decisions of the party. Doing forward, let us do better and comply,” concluded Balopi.

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