Saturday, October 31, 2020

Parties brace to square up

With only 16 months to go before the next general elections, political parties across the divide have kick started preparations for both the primary and general elections.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, disclosed that efforts were underway to mobilise funds in preparation for both party primaries and the general elections next year.

Balopi said that the total budget for both elections is still a matter of speculation.

“The treasurer is yet to tell us how much we are going to spend,” said Balopi, adding that while primaries are expected to be held before end of the year, party branches can still nominate candidates to run in the primaries. He said that the nominated candidates will be vetted by the party’s central committee.

Almost all political parties have indicated that they will hold primaries after the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has completed delimiting wards.

The exercise is expected to be completed by July this year.

“We are getting ready in a very intense manner. Next year’s general elections will be very competitive. The BDP is going to do its best to capture back constituencies and wards it had lost and it is incumbent upon us to defend as well as unseat the ruling party in most of the constituencies,” said the Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Kesitegile Gobotswang.

He said that the party’s draft manifesto is almost complete, adding that the party would debate and make contributions on the document at its upcoming congress expected to be held some time in July.

Gobotswang said that the party would consult with most of its members to encourage most of the parliamentary candidates to run unopposed.

“For us, it does not make sense for people to stand in one constituency while other areas are unrepresented….we will negotiate with our members so that we deploy all the capable manpower across all the constituencies,” said the BCP’s Secretary General.

“While it is a realistic democratic practice, there is a need to respect people’s democratic right to stand for elections,” he added.

Gobotswang said that the party is hoping to spend roughly half a million on the electioneering exercise.

Party members will be paid a levy of P5000 for those wishing to run for parliament and a P2500 for those aspiring to represent the party at municipal level.

“For funding we are going to rely on our members…we are going to ask them to donate into a pool and the money will be expected to help the party in the upcoming 2014 general elections,”
Gobotswang said that the party is encouraging women and young people to apply to contest its primaries.

In a separate interview, the Secretary General of the Umbrella For Democratic Change (UDC), Gomolemo Motswaledi, said that his party is ready to contest the 2014 general elections.

“We are decided on our electoral symbol, presidential candidate and how to tackle the constituencies in terms of the alliance. We are spiritually motivated for them, we recognize the fact that we have reached a stage of solidity as an alliance…,” said Motswaledi
He added that by September this year, his party will have completed the primaries exercise and fielded candidates in almost all the 57 constituencies.

“How much the party will spend on the primaries will become clear after the call for candidacy. If many constituencies and wards are contested, then the cost goes high. Our conservative cost estimate for the process, most of which will be absorbed by the structures themselves is more than half-a-million,” Motswaledi told The Telegraph.

He also disclosed that the party is still working on a strategy to compute election costs as well as how to finance next year’s elections.

He said the party is looking to raise funds from the general membership, donors, well-wishers, corporate sector as well as fraternal friends.

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