Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been hit by reports of electoral fraud, few days ahead of the crucial party primary elections in 38 constituencies which are currently held by the party.
Information emerging from Tsholetsa House reveals that two secretariat employees (names known to this publication) were suspended following a revelation that they had been involved in a plot to tamper with the voters roll. The plan, according to sources was a plot between some candidates and the two suspended employees to remove some voters who were known to be supporting rival candidates from the voters roll. Kgalagadi South was the most affected constituency with over 300 voters allegedly supporting Talita Monnakgotla removed from the voters roll.
Reports indicate that the one primary election contestant became a victim when about 300 of her supporters were struck from the roll. Bulela Ditswe, as the BDP primaries are known has become a source of dispute in the party, usually leading to disunity in general elections. It is believed that the party’s 2014 general elections dismal performance was partly due to how the elections were conducted. Bulela Ditswe created a rift between contestants in 2013 leading to significant number of candidates contesting elections as independent candidates.
The BDP had one of the worst electoral performances in 2017, losing an unprecedented 20 seats to combined opposition in 2014. The party’s popular vote plummeted to below 50 percent for the first time since 1965. Following disastrous performance BDP Central Committee tasked party veteran and former cabinet minister Peter Siele to lead a commission that would investigate the niggling primary elections and offer recommendations to the party Siele was tasked with look at among others; if the system of Bulela Ditswe still working for the BDP; Why were there so many
problems; the nature of these problems; whether the system can be fixed and how and if the party still had to continue with it, and if not what is the alternative that can be pursued to unite the party. According to Siele report, during the 2013 Bulela Ditswe season, a record 108 complaints were registered with the party about the manner in which party primaries were conducted.
The findings of Siele commission were shared with the BDP central committee later and the recommendations are discussed at the 2015 Mmadinare Congress. The party resolved to retain Bulela Ditswe system nevertheless. The current problems, which have led to the suspension of the two employees, were raised by the Siele Report. Siele said the success of any election is dependent on having a credible voters’ roll with full security features.
According to Siele Report the voters roll lacked secure features and dishonest officials included and removed people freely. Other findings were that some candidates were denied access to the voters’ rolls while some were favoured. Bulela Ditswe was introduced in 2003, ahead of the 2004 general elections in the aftermath of the increase in the number of constituencies. This saw the party doing away with the committee of 18, which was initially the organ responsible for choosing a candidate who would contest a particular constituency or ward.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.