Saturday, October 24, 2020

BDP to hold elections in opposition constituencies in 2017

A leaked document shows that Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will move a gear up in its concerted efforts to target constituencies held by opposition.

The document shows that as part of a strategy to kill the opposition momentum the BDP intends to hold primary elections much early in opposition held constituencies.

Those primaries will be held in 2017, well ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Complete with timetables, timelines and deadlines, the document  shows that the BDP will hold primary elections for its candidates in the 19 opposition held constituencies between 1st to 17 July 2017.

According to the document, which was discussed at the BDP Extra Ordinary Congress in Mogoditshane over the weekend, submissions of applications to branch committees by aspirant candidates in Opposition held constituencies is slated for 1st to 17th July 2017. 

Vetting of council and parliamentary applicants by branch committees in compliance with guidelines of the BDP Primary Elections will be done from 1 – 6 August 2017.

Submissions of vetting recommendations from branch committees to Central committee will be on August 9th, 2017.

Sources within the BDP say Okavango Constituency which is currently held by the BDP through its new recruit MP Bagalatia Arone will be given priority. This is because the constituency has been in the hands of the opposition for a long time. 

The only headache is that the drafted vetting guidelines stipulate that an aspiring candidate for a BDP primary election must have not been a member of an opposition party within 24 months preceding the application date.

The BDP’s timeline for prioritised constituencies does not favour Arone to contest for BDP primary elections in 2017, should the party decide to hold primary elections in his constituency. He could only do so in 2018 when he has two years as a member of the BDP.

The central committee is yet to make a decision on whether to hold primary elections in Arone constituency in 2017 as part of targeted opposition held constituencies or in the second round of primary elections in BDP held constituencies scheduled for 1 – 17 July 2018.

Indications are that Arone will be given a waiver if the BDP is to entertain any chances of using him to win the constituency.

BDP Parliamentary candidate for 2014 general elections in Okavango constituency Mbahahauka Kambimba who lost to Arone has already hinted that he will jostle Arone for BDP primaries. In the last general elections Arone was voted by 6864 votes, while Kambimba got 5473 votes.

Arone has already promised President Dr Ian Khama and the BDP that he will win his constituency come 2019; a reason enough that some members of the ruling BDP say there is a likely waiver for him and his constituency from the party President. 

In an interview, Botswana Democratic Party Secretary General said any new party member affected by the drafted vetting guidelines can apply for a waiver as outlined in clause 8.5 of the party constitution.

“If you are affected by the clause you simply write to the party Central Committee applying for a waiver unless there are exceptional circumstances a waiver is normally granted,” said Ntuane adding that every case will be treated on its merits.

Arone was not available for comment. In an earlier interview he had told this publication that he is unable to comment because he is outside the country.

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