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MPs want BDP presidential elections postponed

Publishing Date : 11 March, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Members of Parliament (MPs) have suggested to the party Central Committee that the much awaited party’s presidential elections date be re-considered as it clashes with National Assembly business.


According to the party communique, the elections which will pit the incumbent Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi against long time cabinet minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is billed for the 5th of April 2019 in Kang village. However party MPs believe it is a date which was decided without considering commitments and other activities during that period. Some MPs are concerned that on the first day of congress, parliament proceedings will be on, therefore creating dilemma for legislators.


The MPs, who form part of voting delegates want the date postponed to another suitable day so that they could be accommodated. On the 5th of April, the party special congress will meet specifically to elect party president, without any agenda.   “This is the same day where nominations will be made, should it come to the fore that more than one name is nominated, elections will then be called to elect the party president,” BDP acting Executive Secretary Lesedi Dintwe told WeekendPost.


MPs argue that there is a possibility of missing the first day of the congress. The congress will be followed by the annual National Council. Already some legislators are reading malice on the dates set saying it was done intentionally so that MPs who support Venson-Moitoi could be sidelined in making their voices heard through a ballot. Apart from the date the MPs lament that Kang is also far suggesting that if it was in Gaborone or any central point it would become easier for them to attend.


 “For now the leadership is aware that Venson-Moitoi has a number of legislators rallying behind her while the incumbent has few in the national assembly, and we are made to believe that those dissenting voices are now oppressed to score political goals,” said one concerned MP after telling party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane about the matter on Tuesday. It appears President Masisi has strong base in the regions with most of them having endorsed him for party leadership.


On the other hand Venson-Moitoi, who is believed to be sponsored by former President Lt Gen Ian Khama is said to have a grip in parliament as most of her colleagues sympathize with her following the ejection from cabinet. The legislators say there is no how they could miss parliament session as they are mandated by the electorates and the constitution to draft laws and therefore cannot compromise for party affairs.  


“There is no how we can miss parliament on that day because of party business. Parliament is gazetted not party meeting. So what should happen is that the party should adjust the date so that we can also be there without trampling in any of our duties,” legislators are said to have unanimously told party chairman Tsogwane according to sources.


While the CC assured the legislators that they will consider their suggestion, it is apparent that the meeting will go on as planned. “We are expecting at least 1500 delegates including MPs and the quorum could be formed by about 800 delegates and this means the special congress can still go on with those numbers. I don’t want to be drawn as to whether with or without the MPs,” Dintwe said. The historic special congress will be held at Matsha College in Kang with Khama having been invited as a dignitary.

BDP REGIONS ENDORSE MASISI

Meanwhile BDP Central Committee meeting held this week aimed at giving report cards from the regions left Masisi smiling as most regions opted for him over his rival Venson-Moitoi. The North West Region and BOMASE region are the latest to endorse him for party presidency. This follows other endorsements by South Western, South East and Central regions who all have held their regional congresses. More regions are still expected to hold their regional congresses before April. BDP has 14 regions across the country.

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