The Botswana Democratic Party has come to the conclusion that although its primary elections system Bulela Ditswe is the most democratic one can think of, it is in no way perfect.
This was said by the party’s Secretary General, Jacob Nkate, this week.
Nkate told a media briefing that the party Central Committee has decided to invite contributions from everyone who cares to come up with suggestions on how to retune the system.
Not for the first time, after the primary elections, the BDP has found itself firefighting a spate of complaints from disgruntled members who felt hard done by the system.
Although Nkate would not say it, the situation was also worsened by the casual manner with which complaints from across the country from losing candidates were dismissed off-hand by the Elections Appeals Committee on technical grounds.
“Many BDP members are disgruntled with Bulela Ditswe. We are, however, confident that the membership understands what the party stands for,” Nkate said in reference to the challenge of independent candidates stemming from the way Bulela Ditswe turned out.
While counting on the membership to rally behind official candidates, the Secretary General said the party was in no way discounting the independents’ potential to undermine the party’s elections effort.
BDP only opened up its primary elections system recently, and the result has been a taste of bitter medicine that for years has negatively dogged and destabilised opposition parties.
Nkate, however, ruled out the possibility of reverting to the old college system under which only a select few were eligible to vote.
“We are managing the situation of independent candidates so that they do not become a factor,” he said.
It is estimated that close to a 100 BDP members, some of them very senior within the party and having held some leadership positions, have been so irked by the outcome of Bulela Ditswe that they are smarting to stand outside the party ticket, a situation which, if not properly managed, could erode the party’s fortunes during the General Elections.