A member of United Nations Research Institute for Social Development committee (UNRISD) says Botswana’s decision not to observe SADC elections may be some fancy footwork by the powers to ensure that SADC does not observe Botswana elections. UNRISD committee member who is former University of Botswana lecturer, Dr Onalenna Selolwane says BDP members have become disgruntled and are complaining of lack of inner party democracy in the conduct of elections.
Dr Selolwane’s comments follow President Ian Khama’s decision to stop Botswana from observing SADC elections. Dr Selolwane emphasized that it can only be speculated that the current government is trying to discourage election observers from other countries to come and observe elections in Botswana. She said there was a possibility that other countries could also take a decision not to observe Botswana elections raising doubts about the credibility of the elections among the citizens.
Dr Selolwane also stated that the ruling government was aware that the aftermath of their internal infighting during the primary elections could spill over to the general elections. Selolwane stated that the move by the ruling party may be aimed at discouraging SADC member states from coming to observe Botswana elections because they would not want their tactics to be exposed. “There are lot of question marks currently in Botswana about where we are heading as a country, about leadership and freedoms. We do need members of SADC and other African nations. Whatever we think about the individual leaders of those countries they are our neighbors”, said Dr Selolwane.
She said that Batswana will not be comfortable to be observed only by Americans while it is a norm that they are not always innocent on how they conduct international relations because their interest are always first and foremost. She said that she was worried that Botswana’s decision will only trigger other African states not to observe elections giving Western Countries like America a blank check to observe elections. She said the ruling party was aware of its lack of democracy with the party elections which resulted in its members questioning the election process that resulted in infighting. She said that one could only arrive to a speculation that their tactics could spill to the general election where they will not want anyone to observe.
“An illusion of isolating ourselves thinking that we are better than African countries will have negative impact in our country. This is evident because the president even fail to attend African Union, United Nations while he attends the wildlife conservation meetings .We don’t have the highest voice representing the interest of this country, “said Selolwane. She said hopefully at the end of Khama’s presidency, there will be new faces that will rebuild the bridges that have been burned by the current regime.