Khama’s remarks could split Democrats

Nicholas Mokwena
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
SUPPORT THEM...Khama urge democrats to back Bulela-Ditswe winners SUPPORT THEM...Khama urge democrats to back Bulela-Ditswe winners

President Ian Khama has infuriated some members of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who supported candidates who lost Bulela-Ditswe in January this year when he endorsed others.

Khama endorsed candidates who won primaries in opposition-held constituencies last week Friday during the party’s National Council held in Gaborone. The president paraded the candidates as he called out their names during his official speech. 

This was despite that some of the candidates who lost the primaries have launched protests on the outcome of the primaries. Botswana Guardian understands that at the time when Khama made the statement the complainants had not received communication regarding their appeal. The BDP had established a three-man Appeals Board to handle the appeals.

Khama told the Council that “let me introduce to you winners of our Bulela-Ditswe candidates who will represent the party in the next general elections.” The president called on fellow democrats to give them support labelling the candidates ‘incoming Members of Parliament’. 

“We have to support them. One for all, all for one,” he said. Khama urged those who lost the primaries to follow proper party procedures when lodging their complaints. He urged them to support those who won to ensure that the BDP wins the 18 opposition held constituencies. 

According to insiders this could mean at that time the president was pre-empting the outcome of the appeals or his statement could influence the decision of the appeals board. This publication learns that a preliminary report by the appeals board has been forwarded to the Central Committee. 

It is alleged that all the complaints have been dismissed except one for council ward in Goodhope-Mabule Constituency. At press time BDP Head of Communications, Lesedi Dintwe had not responded to a questionnaire sent to him.

A fortnight ago party Secretary General Mpho Balopi told a press conference that the appeals committee was busy at work and would announce its findings the following week. He said the party was not deliberately delaying the process to frustrate the complainants.

This incident, democrats say, should not be looked in isolation with what transpired when six members of BDP National Youth Executive Committee were suspended for two years. Following their suspension new members were co-opted into NYEC and endorsed by party leadership within the period of an appeal process. 

The suspended were given 14 days to appeal but their replacements were announced in less than week of their suspension. This resulted in some of them resigning from the party arguing that processes are being flouted by the leadership and dismissing the possibility of having a fair appeal.

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