More members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who stood for the recent primary elections and lost are likely to stand as independent candidates should the party not rule in their favour in the appeals they lodged. Sunday Standard can confirm that, many candidates particularly at council wards are ready to dump the BDP and stand as independent candidates.
The losers who spoke to this publication say should they win, they will then rejoin the BDP because they have a conviction that the elections were not fair. So far no decision has been made by regional committees over protests lodged by losers. However the protesters are of the view that by now the regional committees should have dealt with their complaints so that they can decide their next move. The BDP primary elections rules and regulations state that regional committees must decide on complaints lodged by candidates within 30 days. Candidates who lost the elections North of Dibete are of the view that the party should nullify all the results and call for rerun in all constituencies North of Dibete. “There are allegations that some people were caught removing names of people in the voters’ rolls. We have a suspicion that this might have happened in all constituencies, therefore it is only fair that all the results are nullified and fresh elections called,” said one candidate who lost in primary elections North of Dibete.
He said the fact that there was general concern over voter’s rolls even by those who won is a strong indication that the elections were not fair. The candidate also said that since civil servants were not barred from voting in their primary elections, it is only fair that fresh elections should be called and all civil servants be excluded from voting.
“They are excluding civil servants from voting in Serowe North, they also excluded them from voting in the southern part, the same should also happen to our constituencies,” he said. In an interview with Sunday Standard, the BDP chairman of electoral board, Parks Tafa said that they have heard rumours of aggrieved candidates who want to stand as independent candidates but they have not received any resignation from any loser. “Anything is possible. It is possible that we may have independent candidates. I think in future we will have to start screening people who join the party,” he said.
Tafa also said that they have not received any appeal of the regional committee decision; he said that the regional committees are still ceased with the appeals. In the 2009 general elections, the BDP produced many independent candidates after the losers in the 2008 primary elections protested the results. Many of those who won later rejoined the party.