BDP conference divides the region

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Francistown regional conference scheduled for this weekend in Tati Siding is already causing controversy, with some BDP members in the region doubting its motive.According to sources within the party, the BDP faction backing Samson Moyo Guma for the position of chairperson will be using the conference to launch their man and his running mates ahead of the national party congress in July.

“His [Guma] backers and members of his campaign team will be in total control of the conference. They will not say it loudly, but everyone knows that the whole show is staged to launch Guma and his team,” said a source within the Francistown region. It is further said that hundreds of other BDP members from other regions have been invited to the weekend conference primarily to boost the election chances of Guma and members of his team.

“Why would they invite all other regions and branches around the country for a Francistown regional conference? What they intend to do is to make sure that they campaign for their team silently during the conference,” said the source, further adding that the regional committee is made up of pro-Guma members some of whom are his campaign managers in his battle for the BDP chairmanship.

Party Secretary General Mpho Balopi who also appears in Guma’s lobby list will officiate at the Tati Siding event. Members of Guma’s team, according to sources, will all attend the conference including his business partner Thapelo Olopeng who has indicated that he will be challenging Pono Moatlhodi in Tonota South come the party primaries this year.

According to sources close to the event, eight cows will be slaughtered for the event in Tati Siding, which has been bankrolled to the tune of P100 000. Insiders say this is already raising suspicions. “The {Francistown] regional committee doesn’t have that kind of money. So people are sponsoring the event for the sole purpose of using it for their own gain,” commented another source.

Some party members who are against the conference told Northern Extra that established procedures for calling the conference were flouted. Former regional chairperson Botho Ntirang told this publication that while there is nothing wrong with the conference, it is wrong to demand the branch committees to bring motions during the conference because that would be against the party constitution.

According to Ntirang, the constitution demands that prior to the governing council or national congress, branch committees should hold congresses and come up with motions to be presented to the regional committee and later regional congress for adoption. Regarding the Tati Siding conference Ntirang said the branch committees have not held branch congresses to come up with motions.

Some BDP members have told Northern Extra that they are going to raise the question of the legality of the conference during the event. This argument is rubbished by BDP regional chairman Ford Moiteela who told Northern Extra in an interview that the constitution calls for the regional conference to meet and come up with motions and resolutions ahead of the national council, which will take place in May this year.

Moiteela was surprised that some BDP members were expressing their reservations about the conference through the media surpassing established party structures. “Even more surprising is the fact no one has come forth to register their dissatisfaction at the way things are going.

This is in spite of the fact that the regional committee has held meetings with branch committee leaders and councillors to discuss preparations for the upcoming conference,” he said. Moiteela further rubbished allegations that the Tati Siding conference is a ploy to sell and launch Guma and his team. “We have no intention whatsoever to launch anyone. Our programme is very clear,” Moiteela said, further denying that he is part of Guma’s campaign team.

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 14:20

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