As the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) prepares for its primaries for next year’s general elections, party President Dumelang Saleshando has warned that the party will take stiff action against dissidents who refuse to accept the results.
Saleshando said this over the weekend at Selebi-Phikwe where the BCP held its Congress.
He said that there is a habit for disgruntled members who lose primaries to attack the party and cause unnecessary controversy after losing elections.
“The party is not an employment bureau…we are not a mine…we must understand that the party is bigger than all of us,” said Saleshando much to the cheer and applause of members who were attending the congress at Makhubu Community Junior Secondary School in Selebi-Phikwe.
He said many party activists have selflessly ploughed resources and commitment into the party without demanding anything in return, adding that most of the time primary election losers do not even constitute 1 percent of the party’s membership.
He said that statistics from previous general elections show that the BCP has grown tremendously in Selebi-Phikwe.
“It is common knowledge that the story of the BCP in Selebi-Phikwe is not all rosy. Primary elections have been perennial sources of conflict for our comrades in this town. The 2004 elections as well as the 2009 elections and subsequent by-elections have always resulted in some party members packing their bags and leaving the party to either join either parties or contest as independents. There can be no doubt that such conduct has adversely affected the growth of the party in the town and compromised our chances for victory,” said Saleshando.
He added that during last year’s by-elections, the losing candidates in the primaries left the party and that, countrywide, there is a lot of friction ahead of the party primaries.
“Some incumbent councillors, who find themselves in financial difficulties or suspect that they will be defeated in a free and fair primary election contest, are choosing to bargain with the BDP and sell their seats to the ruling party,” added the BCP leader.
Saleshando said that defeat at the party’s primaries should not be viewed as the end of one’s political journey.
“No individual should allow themselves to imagine that they can be bigger than the party and that the party should therefore deliver their ambitions failing which they will punish the party,” Saleshando said.
The BCP leader also sharply criticised President Ian Khama for failing to deliver on many of his promises made in his numerous State of the Nation addresses since 2008.
He said Khama had promised to secure civil servants accommodation but to date many are still stranded.
He said that President Khama has failed to deliver on an insurance scheme he had promised to farmers to enable them to access loans, adding that despite Khama’s promise housing still remains unaffordable to the common folk.
“In 2010 he announced that the privatisation of BTC and selling of shares to citizens will be completed by April 2011. BTC still remains wholly owned by government to this day,” he stated.