Members of the Kedikilwe-Kwelagobe faction, popularly known as the barata-phathi, have stuck to the principle of their leader, Daniel Kwelagobe, and maintained that they will stand by the constitution of the Botswana Democratic Party in the ongoing standoff between themselves and the Nkate-Merafhe faction over the control of the BDP.
Speaking at the star studded launch of Tati East MP, Simon Guma Moyo, in Matshelagabedi on Sunday, each and every one of them reiterated their commitment and total affiliation to the BDP, saying that nothing, not even the whims of the party’s leadership, should supersede the sanctity of the party constitution.
Specially-Elected MP and Gaborone West South parliamentary candidate, Botsalo Ntuane, told delegates at Moyo’s launch that the BDP constitution has to be followed to the letter. He said that the BDP is a democratic institution that has to be seen to be fostering and enhancing internal democracy and, by extension, national democracy, by following its constitution religiously.
He also observed that Botswana, through the leadership of the BDP, has been abiding by its constitution and holding national elections every 5 years. In the same vein, he said, the BDP has been holding its central committee elections every two years at the national congress.
“This state of affairs has been working for us all this time, and there is no reason why we should change it now. We will hold elections at the national congress in Kanye in July,” said Ntuane, to thunderous applause.
Ntuane also stated that the BDP constitution empowers every member of the party to vote and to be voted for any position within the party.
“When disagreements do arise, the constitution should be the main arbiter as it is the founding principle on which the BDP was built,” he said.
For his part, aspiring BDP Secretary General and Gaborone Central parliamentary candidate, Gomolemo Motswaledi, refuted allegations to the effect that they will agree to any compromise with the A-team. He said that by agreeing to a compromise, they will be desecrating the BDP constitution as they will be denying members their constitutionally-accorded right of voting for central committee representatives of their choice.
Guma Moyo also stated that they will not agree to any compromise with the opposing faction, saying that they will exercise their democratic right to stand for elections.
”As democrats, we must let democracy take its course,” he said.
On another vein, Ntuane also urged BDP members to thoroughly evaluate the character, qualities and caliber of the people that they will vote into the central committee as they are the ones who will lead the BDP towards the general elections and beyond.
Francistown South parliamentary candidate, Wynter Molotsi, also declared his support for party chairman Daniel Kwelagobe, saying that he has sacrificed a lot to stand by a democratic principle that he firmly believes in.
Daniel Kwelagobe was dropped from cabinet after he resisted President Khama’s decree that BDP members should make a choice between cabinet and central committee positions, maintaining that every BDP member has a constitutional right to stand for any position that they want. He chose to exercise his constitutional right and stand for the party chairmanship instead of opting for a cabinet position, whose appointment is the prerogative of the president.