The Secretary General of Botswana Democratic Party has made a sudden u-turn on its resolution not to welcome members that had ditched the party to stand as independent candidates.
The party’s secretary general Mpho Balopi said the party had gone back on the resolution taken at last year’s 52nd National Council, after many democrats, disgruntled with the conduct of the party’s primary elections, ditched the party to stand as Mekoko. Balopi sung a different tune this week that everybody is welcome back to the party. “Everybody is free to apply for re-admission in the party and this is what is in our party constitution.
Every case of re-admission will be handled differently by the party leadership and a decision will be made,” he said admitting that independent candidates had adversely impacted the party’s performance during last year’s general election. “The party has never experienced as many disgruntled candidates in the primary elections as it did in 2013. We cannot allow this to continue. We are aware as the party that most people have voted independent candidate because they feel the system did not favour them. It is one of the things that contributed to our decline in terms of our popular vote,” he said. The party has also resolved to review primary elections. “Following an extensive debate on bulelwa ditswe, the party expressed its unwavering confidence in the system as a process of inner party democracy.
The party agreed to reform the system in order to strengthen its mandate,” he said. Balopi said they expect the Ccommission headed by former Labour and Home Affairs Minister, Peter Siele to submit its report on Bulelwa Ditswe at the National Congress. The commission is made up of 12 members from all regional committees.“The outcome of the ongoing Siele Commission on the review of the BDP primary elections is expected to yield results that will reduce disgruntlement, disunity and disharmony within the party,” he said. When briefing members of the party at the just ended 53rd party’s National Council Balopi said they believe the outcome of the commission will result in the discontinuation of independent candidates.
Officially opening the Council, President Ian Khama said their failure in interacting on internal election process going forward would result in many of their members turning against them at the polls. “We should not allow our members to continue to increase opposition votes due to intolerance. They might vote for the opposition if we do not promote the spirit of unity and build ourselves to become a united team,” he said.