- claims her name was called late after the closure of the process
- fellow democrats question the nomination process
- say the party has flouted the constitution
- committee dismisses protestors
FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Francistown Regional Committee has disregarded the nomination of Presidential candidate Pelonomi Venson Moitoi. The regional committee proceeded to issue an endorsement of her opponent President Mokgweetsi Masisi raising confusion as to the correct procedures when adopting resolutions.
While both names for the presidential candidates were put forward at the just ended Francistown regional congress, Moitoi’s supporters who submitted her name were left unattended and unable to lodge their candidate, resulting in the sole endorsement; that of her opponent. Despite objections and protests Moitoi’s supporters were not given the opportunity to submit her candidacy because the regional committee ruled that their nomination was made late, after the stipulated time.
The failure to submit the presidential candidate on time, resulted in the committee adopting the endorsement of Masisi, however according to BDP members the entire region has been ignited into fractional divisions as discontentment amongst the region’s members continues to grow. The decision to decline Venson-Moitoi’s candidacy has left members questioning the procedure with some dismissing the endorsement as unlawful.
Despite division from the regional BDP members the mover of the motion, Francistown South Parliamentary candidate Modiri Jojo Lucas claimed that he was representing all five constituencies within the region except Francistown West. “It has to be noted that this motion was agreed by all the branches of the constituencies before bringing it to the congress. And even before tabling it I consulted with Francistown South branch and they gave me the green light. Ideally I was delegated to present the motion because they believe as the parliamentary candidate I am also the face of the party. I would have been wrong and out of order if I did not present the motion because my constituency believes in me,” Lucas stated in an interview with The Botswana Gazette, while daring those who believe in Moitoi’s nomination to challenge him.
Amidst outcries and the division over the nomination of Masisi, Lucas has remained unfazed and optimistic that post the congress in Kang on April 5, BDP members will unite to support him. “I know that even in my constituency there are some who support Moitoi but I am not bothered by this because I understand that the stakes are high as we enter the Presidential race. I am optimistic that after the congress the democrats will come out united and support my candidacy for the sake of BDP. This is one constituency that the party cannot afford to lose, we want it at all costs and I believe I am the right person to bring it,” added Lucas.
One of Moitoi’s campaign team Ford Moiteela expressed shock at suggestions that Masisi has been endorsed by the region, insisting that as much as he understands the presentation of the resolution, it was marred by a lot of confusion, raising a debate over the procedure adopted. “During the presentation of resolutions there was advice that they should not be taken from the floor but rather be presented by Branch Secretaries, but there was no continuation of the proceedings after that. So as per the advice the resolution to endorse Masisi was also from the floor therefore there was no how it could be endorsed. As it stands, no resolution was passed to endorse because procedurally the resolutions have to be read and thereafter the endorsement announced but nothing was read. Anyone who claims that Masisi has been endorsed is lying,” Moiteela informed the Botswana Gazette.
The returning Regional Chairman Baemedi Medupi dismissed the protestors’ claims when reached for comment, claiming that the process for nomination was correctly followed. “I am of the view that who those question the nomination process were the spectators who do not know anything about what was happening. But if indeed there are some who are disgruntled they still have the opportunity to bring Moitoi’s name to congress, provided that they are 50 in total number. This is a provision in the constitution that gives that right,” Medupi noted.