Outgoing Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) President Benard Balikani has told the beleaguered opposition party leadership that they need to institute a major shakeup in its structures if they fancy any chances of one day winning the general elections.
An irate Balikani, who was apparently on the warpath at the BPP conference last week, said that the party structures are in limbo and need to be revamped.
“Our party structures are ineffective and have resulted in our poor performance during the general elections. The central committee, which I chaired, is particularly ineffective,” he said.
He added that the comatose party structures have also failed to identify suitable candidates to field during elections, such that the party has had to do with willing candidates even though they were aware that they are incompetent.
He indicated, after being elected into office in July 2006, the party central committee was immediately beset by internal problems, with some members not taking up their duties while some left to join other political parties.
Balikani also revealed that his poor showing in the recent general elections in Francistown South, where he was completely eclipsed by political heavyweights like Botswana Democratic Party’s Wynter Mmolotsi and Botswana Congress Party’s Vain Mamela was a damning embarrassment, especially for a party president.
“This dismal loss on its own scarred the party very badly, and I take full responsibility for the embarrassment that this party suffered. It is against this background that I have decided to step down from the party leadership with immediate effect,” he said
He stated that his resignation will give the party an opportunity to recover from the recent disastrous electoral performance, saying that there is a need for the party to revive confidence among members by allowing other loyal members to take over its reins of leadership.
He reiterated his attack on the central committee, saying that it has changed beyond recognition, and therefore needs to be dissolved and replaced with an interim committee. He advised that the interim committee will be best placed to focus on rebuilding the party structures ahead of the next conference.
Balikani also called on the BPP to consider working with other opposition parties for the 2014 general elections. He urged them to revamp their structures so that they can become a valuable partner in opposition cooperation. The BPP is also said to be faced with a problem of lack of discipline as everyone does what they want and continuously ignore instructions from the party leadership.
“Even elected leaders ignore their responsibilities and routinely breach party rules and regulations. Members continue to violate the party’s code of conduct as well as conference resolutions with impunity,” he said.