The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) President Ian Khama has said his party is aiming at remaining in Government beyond 2019. Speaking at the ongoing BDP 16th National Women Congress in Maun, Khama warned his party members to get in that frame of mind as they prepare for this crucial election and ensure that they do all that is necessary for victory. Khama called on BDP members, especially office bearers to ensure that their structures are alive and fully functional. “Every structure and every member is challenged to ensure that the pursuit to govern further for the next half century is achieved,” Khama said. Khama said women have demonstrated their zeal in the pursuit for another 50 years of BDP government. He also urged women’s structure below the National Women’s Wing to be vigilant throughout the country. “From that BDP will emerge vibrant, as the biggest winner above individuals,” he said. Khama said the BDP government has policies aimed at supporting women and commended women for their efforts toward implementing them as well as empowering themselves. He appreciated women’s volunteerism spirit. “It will be recalled that women initiated most of the fund raising activities, which have benefited the party immensely in the past such as the annual high Tea Party,” he said. Khama encouraged them to engage in civil and respectful campaigns, appealing to those who did not make it in the election to support those who emerge victorious.
For her part, the BDP Women Chairperson Dorcus Makgato highlighted that women had and have always played a key role in the BDP and Botswana at large. She noted that at independence there had no women representation in parliament with the first woman MP being Dr Gaositwe Chiepe in 1974. Makgato added that Dr Chiepe’ ascendance to the legislation marked the beginning of the journey of continual improvement of women representation at highest level. “Those of us who have since joined the band wagon owe it to the pioneers for it is because of them that we learnt that capable women deserve the opportunity to serve,” she said. She said as women they are not targeting or aiming at competing with their male counterparts as they call for capable women from all across the country to be given equal opportunity that they too qualify for. “Ours is a call for gender not to be a determinant when votes are cast at the polls because our gender does not reflect our ability,” she said. Makgato also added that two years ago when they ascended to office they laid out transformational agenda and are proud to have set up regional structures and held their first ever General Assembly