Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is racing against time to adjudicate on complaints flooding the party secretariat regarding the elective congress next week.
Botswana Guardian understands that the party President Ian Khama is leading the party secretariat in handling the complaints on delegates’ selection, which came as a result of some irregularities during the party’s branch congresses.
In preparation for the Tonota congress the party conducted ward, branch and regional congresses where delegates to the National Congress were elected. Some of the congresses have ended up with fistfights and others reported to the police. At the National Congress, party Chairman who is also Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi will be defending his seat against Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Nonofo Molefhi who is also BDP Central Committee additional member.
There are fears that the congress might be held with some of the complaints having not been attended to. Some insiders have also expressed concern over the integrity of the committee handling the complaints given that Khama, who leads the exercise has publicly declared his support for Masisi. BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane confirmed in an interview that Khama is leading the process of handling the complaints.
Ntuane expressed hope that the complaints would be handled well and all affected parties would be satisfied. “We trust that they will be dealt with to the satisfaction of all complainants by congress time. We do not doubt the integrity of those handling the petitions,” said Ntuane adding that the secretariat staff is doing all they could to ensure that everything is done within reasonable time. Ntuane would not commit himself if the affected branches would get an extension for deadline regarding the submission of delegates. All the 57 branches were expected to have forwarded names of delegates by Wednesday this week (June 28th 2017) to prepare for the congress. “I guess they will cross the bridge when they get to the river,” Ntuane said. He revealed that as the Central Committee they could not be involved because they are interested parties for positions.
“Admittedly this is a departure with previous practice because we felt those of us in the central committee involved in campaigns for Tonota should not be involved in the adjudication process,” Ntuane stated. There are however indications that some of the complaints could be dealt along factional lines as even at Tsholetsa House, the employees have their preferred candidates.
Masisi’s camp, which according to insiders seems to be leading the race (based on the branch congresses) is composed of all the current BDP central committee executive members except for the secretary general. The current party Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane does not belong to any lobby group. Masisi has added former secretary general Mpho Balopi to challenge Ntuane for the seat. Masisi and Molefhi both have a fair share of support from cabinet members, Members of Parliament and councillors across the country. Those eligible for voting at the congress are all 18 central committee members, all ministers, all BDP MPs, all 437 BDP councillors, six (6) executive members of Women’s Wing, eight (8) members of Youth Wing Executive Committee, Chairpersons and Secretaries of all 14 regions, and Chairpersons and Secretaries of all 57 constituencies.