Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) holds its fourth elective congress in Maun next week.
The party hopes to use the congress to demonstrate that the internal stability it has hitherto enjoyed is enduring, contrary to┬ásuggestions by┬ácritics that it will be difficult to maintain
coherence in the face of sustained growth the party has experienced in its ten year history.
In a spirited attempt to demystify the pessimism that the party’s stability is a farce, BCP has enlisted the services of the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy (EISA) to conduct its internal elections at the three-day congress which begins on 17 July.
“EISA will conduct our elections and the overriding objective of having them conduct our elections is to enhance the integrity of our party elections. With EISA, a renowned, democratic election organization, we expect a high level of impartiality in the conduct of the elections. We also expect to learn from the feedback that EISA will give so that we can further improve our inner party processes,” BCP Secretary General Taolo Lucas told The Sunday Standard this week.
According to him, 50 constituencies are expected to be represented with each ward sending five delegates to the congress.
Lucas said that EISA has already circulated nomination forms, which constituencies were expected to have returned to the organization a week ahead of congress.
“Work on production of ballot paper has already been started by EISA. In addition to nominations received from constituencies, delegates will be at liberty to nominate candidates from the floor. It is also expected that at the end of the voting 30 percent of those who will have been elected will be women as per the BCP constitution,” this according to a statement issued by the party.
In strengthening internal party democracy through the conduct of credible internal elections, EISA says on its website that it is piloting the technical expertise of its “Balloting and Electoral Services Unit” to facilitate elections within political parties in Botswana.
EISA is working on a new project called “Supporting Political Parties’ Internal Organisation and Capacity” in Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa based on previous party support in these countries.
EISA says the specific objective of the project is to enhance the capacity and skills of parties through training, in order to provide effective social leadership in public affairs, resource mobilization and management, more effective gender and other marginal groups, election campaigning and poll watching for party agents at elections, public outreach, constituency relations representation as well as conflict management.
Retired Judge John Mosojane is to give a keynote address on the theme “Free and Fair elections in Botswana ÔÇô A Myth or Reality.” Gilson Saleshando, the retiring President of the BCP, will give his last speech as President.
The speech is expected to cover a wide range of issues, including the current state of Botswana’s democracy and how the BCP hopes and should respond.
Saleshando is also expected to touch on opposition unity.
Yet another speaker, Log Raditlhokwa, a lecturer at the University of Botswana, is expected to give a talk on “Commitment Based Leadership: A Vital Ingredient of Authentic Democratic Empowerment”. The party says Raditlhokwa is expected to provide motivational insights to the congress delegates on effective leadership and how it can be achieved from grassroots level to the central executive level. Raditlhokwa comes from a premise that most of Africa’s problems are a product of leadership failures.
Lucas himself will give a report on the state of the party with particular emphasis on the current state of the structures.
The report will also highlight the challenges posed by current political developments in Botswana.
Congress delegates are expected to discuss the different speeches of the congress and generate ideas on the economy, social policy, social security and social services, democracy and governance and party building and administration.
In addition to nominations received from constituencies, delegates will be at liberty to nominate candidates from the floor. It is expected that at the end of the voting 30 percent of those who will have been elected will be women as per the BCP Constitution, the party says.
Dumelang Saleshando and Ephraim Leputu Setshwaelo are widely expected to emerge unopposed as President and deputy, respectively. Many other key positions in the leadership of the party are also not likely to be contested.
These are: Secretary General (Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang), Deputy Secretary General (Motsei Rapelana), Treasurer (Denis Alexander), Political Affairs (Jacob Zacharia), Information and Publicity (Taolo Lucas), Secretary for Legal Affairs (Annah Motlhagodi), International Affairs (Morgan Moseki), Director of Elections (Stephen Makhura) Secretary for Economic Affairs (Diphetogo Maswabi), Secretary for Sports (Ephraim Maiketso).
Batisani Maswibilili and the incumbent youth league President, Lotty Manyapetsa are up against each other for the position of Chairman. Vain Mamela will be pitted against Phagenyana Phage for the position of National Organising Secretary, while Ephraim Mabengana faces Gape Mapii for the position of Secretary for Labour.