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BDP congress: Ntuane weighs options

Ntuane calls for BDP to reform ahead of 2019

Former Gaborone Bonnington South Member of Parliament Botsalo Ntuane, has down played reports that he will be contesting for the Secretary General position at the upcoming Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress billed for July.


Ntuane, who was elected the Chairman of Gaborone region recently, has chosen not to comment on his perceived interest to run for the secretary general position currently held by Mpho Balopi. This publication has established that the former legislator, who was at some point, the Leader of Opposition while he was with the Botswana Movement for Democracy, is studying the situation with keen interest before actively lobbying for support. “For now, I will not comment on it,” he said.


It is expected that a number of heavyweights within the party are being cajoled to contest for various positions with the party chairpersonship having attracted a lot of interest. WeekendPost have been reliably informed that among the people being lobbied to contest for chairmanship is the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and President’s brother, Tshekedi Khama, who is the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.

Former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Tebelelo Seretse has already made her ambitions for the chairpersonship clear, having started lobbying for support. Seretse contested and lost the chairmanship to Daniel Kwelagobe at the infamous Kanye congress in 2009.


Ntuane, understood not to be under any lobby list for now, has started calling for reforms within the party ahead of the crucial congress.  Ntuane wants the party to adopt major reforms to ensure that the party rejuvenates itself in order to stay in power beyond 2019. BDP had its worst performance in the history of its existence winning 37 seats and registering 46.7 percent in popular vote.

In the process opposition garnered a historic 20 seats in parliament, 17 seats belonging to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), a newly formed coalition of opposition parties, while 3 seats were won by Botswana Congress Party (BCP). Ntuane was among the victims, losing his seat to his former colleague, Ndaba Gaolatlhe.


The 2014 general elections also saw BDP losing some its traditional strong holds to UDC, most important constituencies which it never lost in history. BDP surrendered for the first time, Molepolole North, Molepolole South, Ghanzi North and Good Hope-Mabule (formerly Borolong).


It is against this devastating development that Ntuane believes making changes including considering adopting a new electoral system, will help the party. Ntuane is of the view that the current First Past the Post (FPTP) system has been overtaken by time, therefore calling for a hybrid system. Ntuane wants Botswana to adopt an electoral system of a hybrid of proportional representation (PR) with the current first past the post system.


Ntuane who rejoined the BDP in 2012 following his resignation from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), a party he helped to found, says BDP must look for inspiration within the region. Ntuane contends that countries like Namibia and South Africa have been using the system for some time now.  “Every democracy is a work in progress and must be reformed as and when conditions call for such,” he contends.


As the chairperson of Gaborone Region, the most influential region in BDP, Ntuane may use his position to cajole the congress into considering reforms. However, Ntuane says his views, which were recently circulated and published in local media were personal and did not have anything to do with him being Gaborone region chairperson.

“The article I wrote is just a personal contribution to the post electoral period which is awash with debates on various subjects and many commentators; partisan and non-partisan people are busy debating the 2014 elections and what it means for the future of politics and governance in our country,” he told this publication. “I cannot prejudge internal BDP discussions because it is up to democrats to decide what is worthy for debate and what isn’t, but it’s great for a nation to debate issues and we should encourage that.”


 Many will recall that ahead of the 2009 Kanye Congress, which eventually led to the party’s split, Ntuane and other stalwarts sympathetic to the Daniel Kwelagobe lobby, called for reforms within the party as well as a constitutional review.  Ntuane says he has always supported and called for reforms within the BDP and even before the party split.


There is a view that many conservative BDP members will be averse to such reforms, especially when they seem to favor the opposition at the current moment. With an electoral system like proportional representation in place BDP, would have lost the past election, and therefore leading to a coalition government as neither party won a simple majority.

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