Sunday, May 19, 2024

Going back on a requirement for VP to be an elected MP would be a dramatic overreach

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party is seeking to change the rules and the law. The party wants to make it possible for a vice president of the republic to be somebody who has not been popularly elected to become a member of parliament. In short, the party wants to go back to how it was before the situation was changed in 1995. As is so often the case, the impending change comes at the behest of incumbent leader. Not so long ago the party decided to come up with a law effectively outlawing cross party defections of elected officers like members of parliament and councilors. The BDP had itself benefitted more than any other party from such defections.

Simply because more than any other party, as a ruling vehicle it has access to resources of sate patronage and largesse. And just when it felt the pressure, much of it mistaken, that its own members, especially from the central regions of the country were likely to defect it came up with the law that has with time proved badly thought out. What was supposed to be a master stroke from a genius mind to undermine the opposition has snapped. And it has now turned out to be an own goal. The BDP is not done yet. Self-preservation is still paramount. It runs through every decision – big and small. Now the party wants to do away with a requirement that a vice president should be an elected member of parliament.

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