As the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) gears up for the party’s primary elections, slated for August, there are growing fears within the party that interventions by outsiders, allegedly sponsored to bring confusion and destabilize the process of electing party representatives for the 2019 general elections, are well underway.
Insiders within the BDP have informed this publication that it has been established that some candidates who have submitted their names for the primary elections do not actually belong to the BDP. ‘‘We have since realised that some of the candidates are not bona fide members of the BDP as they do not even have membership cards, let alone that their names are not captured in the membership database at Tsholetsa House’’, a source in the BDP said. Asked as to the motive behind this desire to stand for election by non-members, the source said it appears that “these non-members are sponsored by some within the BDP in an effort to split votes” against those who are not wanted in the party. ‘‘I will give you an example, if you are a sitting MP or councillor and we do not want you to win the upcoming primary elections, all we do is send someone to contest against you and actively fund and manage their campaign to ensure a victory for a given faction, and in some instances people/factions were so reckless as to front with people who do not belong in the BDP,” the source revealed.
The discovery of non-members seeking to contest the primary elections has led to the party acting swiftly to ensure only bona fide members are allowed entry into the primary elections. BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi has written to all Branch Secretaries demanding that they ensure that only registered members of the party are allowed to contest the primary elections. In a letter dated 16 July and passed on to this publication, Balopi informs the Branch Secretaries that the party head office is in receipt of the application forms that have been sent for final vetting by the Central Committee, he goes on to state, ‘‘we realise that the majority of applications do not have proof of membership attached’’.
Balopi, in the same letter, has instructed that all candidates must sign an affidavit to be sworn before a commissioner of oaths. ‘‘The Commissioner’s names and rank including force number in the case of Police officers must be clearly legible’’, Balopi wrote.
The Secretary General further stated that affidavits must be returned to the Secretariat at Tsholetsa House by close of business yesterday (Monday) 23 July and that failure to do so ‘‘will result in automatic disqualification from candidature.’’