The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress in Mmadinare is expected to usher in a new leadership. Party President Lt gen Ian Kham called for a united BDP and encouraged selflessness if the party is to continue building on its solid foundation. As a prelude to the congress the BDP held its National Council to look into other issues such as the Peter Siele Commission which probed the Primary Elections. Captured pictured is of the outgoing central committee.
The ongoing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Mmadinare Congress is being dominated by party and constitutional reforms, as the party seeks to reclaim its glory following the challenges realized in the 2014 general elections.
The Mmadinare Congress has turned out to be a watershed moment for the party to discuss reforms that will ensure that the party remains in power avoids another humiliation at the next polls.
Former BDP Executive Secretary Botsalo Ntuane and Member of Parliament for Tati West Biggie Butale have been instrumental in selling the reform agenda for discussion at the ongoing party congress.
Democrats also agree on the need to relook into the party primary elections popularly known as “Bulela Ditswe” which created a rift between contestants in 2013 leading to significant number of candidates contesting elections as independent candidates.
The BDP primary elections conundrum led to the party appointing a task team led by former cabinet minister Peter Siele, after the general elections to look into the troublesome inner party elections. The findings have already been shared with the BDP central committee and the recommendations are being discussed at the ongoing congress.
BDP primary elections were introduced 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 initial the organ responsible for choosing a candidate who would contest a particular constituency.
A number of significant leading BDP members including Assistant Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao believe reforms will be necessary to resurrect the party and ensure that it win the next elections.
Molao cited the post 1994 general elections in which BDP managed to re-invent itself through reforms after it was given a hiding by opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) at the polls. The general expectation was that BDP will lose the 1999 elections, but incisive reforms such as electoral reforms and introduction of presidential term limits offered the party a lifeline.
Ntuane wants BDP to introduce a hybrid electoral system which will see the BDP adopting a mixture of First-Past-the-Post and proportional representation in its electoral system.
Speaking to this publication ahead of the congress Ntuane said some of the ideas are a work in progress and could not say with certainty that congress would adopt them. “For that to happen one must have the support of their branch, region and of course lobby others across the country,” said Ntuane.
In terms of lobbying Ntuane has received support and as the chairman of the Gaborone Region, the most influential in the affairs of BDP, Ntuane could hope for the better. But he was still doubtful if all his proposed reforms will be adopted by the congress. “It is the congress that must adopt whatever ideas or proposals tabled,” said the former Gaborone Bonnington South MP. “So I cannot with any certainty say the reform agenda will be discussed.”
In the past recent years, a debate of reforms has been ‘banned’ inside the BDP and was part of the 2009 Kanye Congress in which the party returned divided. However the Mmadinare Congress does not have the hall mark of the Kanye Congress since the party is not divided by factionalism like it was the case in 2009.
The Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni says the search to appoint the Ombudsman and other critical heads of department is currently ongoing and the process is expected to be completed before end of the year.
The Ombudsman position fell vacant almost five months ago after Augustine Makgonatsotlhe was removed from the office and appointed as Ambassador to Kuwait.
Two Batswana nationals have been arrested in Zimbabwe for illegal trade in mercury. The duo is being held together with a Zimbabwean national who is being questioned by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
This publication understands that the suspects who are aged between 39 and 56 years hail from Tutume and Selebi-Phikwe. At the time of the arrest, they were found in possession of a pistol, bomb motor and four live rounds. It is understood that the suspects told investigators during interrogation that the deadly substance has a lucrative market in Far East countries, where the demand is high. It is further reported that the suspects claimed that the mercury can be easily accessed in mines through middleman.
The Namibian Lives Matter Movement has weighed in on the looming border dispute between their country and Botswana.
Commenting on reports that the Namibian Parliament has dispatched a committee along the border between the two countries on fact finding mission, the group commended“the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, De-fence and Security that will engage community members living along the Namibia Botswana Border in conducting public hearings into acts of aggression and brutality by Botswana Defence (BDF) Force against innocent and unarmed Namibians.”