Sunday, June 23, 2024

‘Serving Public Officers will not be allowed to apply for BDP primaries’ – Tafa

Public Officers wishing to contest for the Botswana Democratic Party primaries will have to resign from their day jobs before the end of this month or they stand to be vetted out for applying to run for political office while still holding public office.

The party electoral board chairman, Parks Tafa, has indicated that it will not accept applications made by serving public officers.

Tafa has told the Sunday Standard that if any serving government employee wishes to run for political office, they should have quit the public service before the 31st of January. This is also the deadline that the party has set as the last day for receiving applications.

Those wishing to run for parliament should submit an application with P5000 fee while those wishing to run for municipal seats pay P2500 as application fee.

For several years, the ruling party had continued to enjoy a massive following within the public service, especially in the upper echelons.

On numerous occasions, top civil servants, such as permanent secretaries and district commissioners, have quit their jobs to run for political office under the BDP ticket.

It is not surprising that almost half the BDP legislators are former civil servants. Among others, these include Ministers Kenneth Matambo, Edwin Batshu, Shaw Kgathi, Nonofo Molefhi, Phandu Skelemani and Lebonaamang Mokalake.

Even back benchers such as Slumber Tsogwane and Ryner Makosha are products of the civil service.
“We do not want to be accused of turning a blind eye or conspiring with civil servants,” said Tafa.
According to the Public Service Act and the General Orders, public sector workers are allowed to be members of political parties but are prohibited from actively taking part in politics.

“We would be very uncomfortable with someone who submits an application before resigning,” he said, adding that although the process was confidential, the party would not turn a blind eye to applications that were either in conflict with the Public Service Act or the General Orders, which run the Public Service.

“We as the BDP will not condone a situation where civil servants are in conflict with their fiduciary obligations,” Tafa said.

He, however, highlighted that the entire process is very confidential and no applications would be made public. Tafa said, if anything, communication will be between the party than individual applicants.

“We are assuming that before the cut off date anyone wishing to express interest in the primaries would have sorted themselves out…the BDP will not condone civil servants who break the law; the party and government are two different things,” added Tafa.

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