The Botswana Congress Party has decided not to contest the Serowe North West by-election. This comes in the wake of the issuance of an election writ to hold the by-elections in the constituency.
This was said by the BCP Secretary General Taolo Lucas.
Lucas said the decision was taken by the party’s Central Committee at a meeting held recently at Selibe Phikwe.
Serowe North West, which is a stronghold of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, fell vacant after its former representative in parliament, Ian Khama, ascended to the position of State President.
The BDP has since handpicked Tshekedi Khama, the younger brother to Ian, as its prospective candidate.
He was unopposed and, therefore, the party did not have to hold primaries.
Lucas says in reaching the decision not to contest Serowe North West, the BCP considered the fact the party still has a lot of ground work to do to establish structures in the constituency.
“The BCP has never contested the constituency and very little work in terms of building structures was done after the General elections to prepare the constituency for electoral contest.”
Lucas added that it was only at the beginning of this year that some work was done in the constituency.
“Comrade Motlhatlhobi Keitaile, formerly BNF Mayor in Lobatse, with the help of the Regional structures in the area, is involved in building the party structures in preparation for the 2009 elections. For the record, Cde Keitaile has indicated interest to contest the constituency in 2009,” said Lucas.
Another reason that drove the BCP not to contest, said Lucas, is that the BCP 2009 general election preparation program is well underway and participating in the Serowe North West by-election is likely to disrupt the detail, structure and plan of the broader 2009 general election strategy.
“As everyone will now appreciate, by-elections are demanding both in terms of financial and human resources and it will only be reasonable for us to deploy our resources in tune with our overall general election campaign strategy.”
He said the BCP is currently engaged in major activities that require greater focus and substantial resources to execute. These activities include 10th anniversary Celebrations, Category 2 Primary elections, National Tour Schedule, Launching of Candidates in priority constituencies, Candidates training programme, Policy Development exercise and the National Congress.
“The resource constraints we face as a party compel us to prioritize these activities over the Serowe North by-election,” he said.
The BCP Secretary General said his party encourages its members to vote for the candidate of the Botswana National Front on polling day.
“We hope that this gesture will be appreciated by those who wish to see closer working ties among opposition parties in Botswana,” said Lucas.