Although the Executive Secretary of the ruling BDP, Batlang Serema, has written a letter to the party’s Members of Parliament reminding them of the caucus decision to support a motion calling on increasing the number of Specially Elected MPs to eight, the party Secretary General, Jacob Nkate, said the members would be free to vote according to their conscience.
“The party leadership is not dictating to MPs what to do. We think MPs should express their views openly and vote accordingly,” he said.
He said while the caucus has taken a decision, those who want to vote on conscience should do so, said Nkate.
He said it would also not be opportune to openly declare the party position as that would influence the views of the MPs.
On a related matter, Nkate said President Ian Khama has already met the party’s MPs on why he thinks it is important that those standing for council and parliamentary elections should not be allowed to contest the Central Committee elections due in July.
Worried that the Central Committee elections are likely to ignite the old factional battles inside the party, Khama has hatched a plan he hopes will mitigate the wars.
But already some new faces aligned and sponsored by the old factions are said to be raring to raise their hands should Khama’s idea come to pass.
Exactly what achievements Khama’s idea would accomplish remains to be seen.
“But in the end, it is important to understand that anybody who wants to stand does not need anybody’s permission. This is a suggestion made by the President based on what he thought is good for the party.
“The President has suggested elections will be divisive, hence a need for a pause,” said Nkate.
He said Khama’s idea is informed by a realization that a lot of people who want to stand for positions in the Central Committee are in one way or another associated to factions.
“It is therefore conceivable that the elections will be acrimonious.”
BDP Members of Parliament have since indicated to the President that they want to discuss his proposals more at a later date.