Postpones closing date for registrations
PEEC to conduct registration of members in chaotic constituencies
To hold retreat for losing candidate
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has moved swiftly to postpone the registration of members for the part’s primaries to July this year after abandoning a chaotic process last week, a move that analysts warn may be a harbinger of upheaval during the primary elections in August this year.
Addressing a press briefing, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi informed the media that they have postponed the deadline for the registration of members after realising that most people have not registered.
“Recently, we have welcomed lot of people into our party and they are interested in participating in the primary elections, hence the Central Committee took a decision to extend the registration time,” he said.
Balopi said that they will hold a retreat for those who will lose the primaries as well as winners as part of reconciliation and team building ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
Another contentious issue that the ruling party is currently facing is the complaint by some parliamentary hopefuls that their rivals are registering only their members. The party, according to Balopi, has decided to deploy members of the Political Education Committee to conduct the registration in hotly contested constituencies which if not managed could be explosive.
Balopi defends Masisi
Balopi came out with guns blazing rebutting allegations that there is a rift between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Lieutenant General Ian Khama.
The BDP chief scribe told the media on Tuesday that it was inevitable that there is going to be a shift in leadership style when Masisi took over from Khama, but that should not be misconstrued as a rift between the two. “Right now President Masisi started by addressing the media rather than kgotla meetings while Khama did the opposite because that is how they prefer to do things,” he said.
On the raft of changes to government policies like opening up the country for trade by loosening immigration laws, Balopi said that each president has his own priorities. Within 60 days after taking over Masisi has undone most of Khama's decisions saying his administration will focus on facilitation rather than frustrate investors who want to do business in Botswana by liberalizing the immigrations laws. Masisi has also promised to liberalise the much feared Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) to ensure the intelligence agency focus on identifying oportunities for growing and diversify economy to create jobs.
Balopi said Masisi has given Khama the presidential helicopter, a sign that there is no tension between the two. The duo are in good talking terms, he said. Balopi also denied that there are some members of the BDP who are not comfortable with the appointment of people from the southern part on strategic positions noting that there is no south or north but one Botswana. “Former President Khama warned us at our meeting in Palapye in 2016 that we must not divide the country into South and North because we have only one Botswana,” said Balopi, emphasising that people are appointed on merit not on their geographical origins.
Asked what prompted Khama to caution the democrats about dividing the country along the geographical lines, Balopi said he was merely warning them if at all they harbor those thoughts.