Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership is under pressure to announce dates for primary elections –Bulela Ditswe, but chances are that the National Council and Special National Congress billed for Palapye next month could defer them to early 2024, The Patriot on Sunday has learnt.
BDP is expected to host primary elections under which constituencies will be electing members that to represent the party in 2024 general elections as Parliament and council candidates.
Information reaching this publication is that BDP central committee presided by President Mokgweetsi Masisi is under pressure from party structures to issue a writ for the 2023 primaries. Source say the primary elections will be dominating the agenda of the next central committee meeting that is expected to be conducted before the Palapye congress that is billed for August 26.
It is said the elephant in the room is that some members of the party, especially cabinet ministers are pushing for compromise in their constituencies, to avoid going for primaries. The ministers’ major fear is that they run the risk of losing because most of their time is dedicated to serving cabinet duties, therefore having minimal time to interact with their constituents.
“Although it is widely known that the party always come out of primary elections divided, the ministers indicate that compromise can minimize internal divisions more so that the primary elections are near. The ministers have been putting Masisi and BDP chairman Slumber Tsogwane under pressure over compromise, but they fear backlash of compromising from those who will be sacrificed,’’ a source said.
No free pass
Reached for comment on Friday, BDP Chairman of communications and international relations subcommittee, Kagelelo Kentse said the upcoming congress will deliberate on Bulela Ditswe.
“Post that the announcement will be made. There are no compromises in the BDP, there are consensus candidates as would have been agreed by the branch and all those with interests, “he said, adding that failing which on consensus BDP should use internal party process to select the candidates.
Post the 2018 primary elections, some of the ministers who lost Bulela Ditswe at the time protested the results but were dismissed and those who handed them defeats were mostly new comers. Disgruntled and feeling that the BDP leadership contributed to their downfall, some of them decided to go against those who defeated them, campaigning for the opposition candidates.
Political analyst Kitso Morekisi said as it is the tradition, significant number of incumbent BDP MPs will lose the primary elections, adding that this would be so because the quality current crop of MPs is low.
He noted that BDP going to 2024 elections would be looking for stronger candidates who can also be appealing to the electorates as the opposition across board is likely to come with quality candidates.
“ The current BDP MPs have been highly criticized but it is important to give an emphasis to the fact that majority of them was their first time in Parliament. However, this has been an advantage to Masisi because he managed to establish his completely new BDP in Parliament. To build up on the current MPs seems highly impossible and he will lobby for some of former MPs loyal to the BDP to return,” he added.
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