Saturday, August 15, 2020

Khama says a new law to stop floor-crossing is a sign of “panic” on the BDP

Former President, Ian Khama has made his position known on the government proposals to review the Constitution and make floor crossing and defections from one party to the other by members of Parliament and councilors illegal.

He has said the new law is rushed, demonstrating panic and unease on the part of the ruling party.

If the law is intended to stop the growth of his party, then that will fail, he has said.

Calling Botswana government a “regime” that has run out of ideas, he accused it of lacking patriotism.

Under the proposals published in a government Gazette, any Member of Parliament or Councilor wishing to cross the floor from one party to the other will first have to resign their position and pave way for fresh elections.

Khama has said the strategy by the government and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party is not to enhance democracy but to “entrench themselves in power.”

Talking to Sunday Standard through an intermediary as he often does, Khama said the BDP is coming up with a new law at the expense of what little remnants are left of democracy in Botswana.

“They have been consistently eroding [democracy] for the last two years,” he said.

For the last few months there has been noticeable spike in defections, especially at councilor level from Botswana Democratic Party to the Botswana Patriotic Front.

The defections have mainly happened in the Central District Council around the Serowe areas where the BPF performed exceptionally well in the 2019 General elections. Khama is a Patron of the BPF. And he readily concedes that the BPF has been a big beneficiary of the current system where Members of Parliament and Councilors are able to cross from one party to the other without first having to vacate  office.

“The BPF has been a beneficiary not only because we are patriots who believe in our citizens welfare as the core and principal priority for us as a party and our strong beliefs in our traditions of democracy and the culture of botho  but also to ensure we steer this nation on a path towards  prosperity and wellbeing for all through inclusiveness and consultation.”

Khama does not accept that BPF is a regional party and is instead buoyant that the party is set to grow ahead of the next elections.

“the BPF is not a regional party. We have structures in every constituency in the country as recently witnessed when we dispatched registration forms to all of them through those very structures. I personally received new members from CAVA [BDP] in Kumakwane and there will be more such events around the country. Why the regime is rushing this law now is a demonstration of panic,” said the former president who has since abandoned the party and government he led for ten years.

He said he is not surprised that Botswana Government has come up with such new proposals.

He said these are signs of a party and government in trouble and doing everything to stay in power.

“When you are losing members at the rate they are and are going to continue to, there will be similar attempts to try and block holes in a sinking ship springing up faster than they can plug them,” he concluded.

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