The Midweek Sun
Moswaane’s presidential aspirations in limbo with BPP divided over elective congress
Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP) is divided over whether it should simply hold a National Annual Delegates Conference or Elective Congress.
Besides several reshuffles in the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and Central Committee (CC) since the last elective congress more than six years ago, the closest the BPP has come to electing its leaders has been the co-option of members into the leadership structures whenever a position became available due to resignations or expulsions of party officials.
According to the party constitution, the term of office is three years. At a virtual NEC meeting held over the weekend, it was decided that a meeting of the CC be convened for next weekend, June 17 in Palapye to look at the NEC recommendations, one of which is whether the party should go for an elective congress this year or for the National Annual Delegates’ Conference.
Those seeking to postpone the congress argue that with the general elections only 16 months away, there is little time left to run two election campaigns at the same time.
“My view is that we should postpone the elections because we cannot be campaigning for the CC positions at the elective congress, while also campaigning for wards and constituencies in the general elections next year. There’s simply no time,” said a BPP veteran, who added that traditionally, the party has always avoided these two events happening so close to one another.
“Needless to say, while we do not have the wherewithal to postpone the national elections which are scheduled for next year, it is within our power as a party to postpone our internal elections,” the veteran said, speaking anonymously.
He could not, however, say why the party has not held an elective congress for such a long time. Supporters of one of the party presidential aspirants, Ignatius Moswaane, are not happy with the proposed postponement because, his lobby is ready and itching to compete.
In fact, the Moswaane lobby feels that the postponement is a sign of cowardice on the part of the other lobby, which is still searching for can
didates and crucially, the presidential candidate.
Laughing off suggestions that there are divisions within the party on the issue of when to hold the elective congress, the Deputy Secretary General of the BPP, Tiroyaone Ntsima said that the weekend meeting decided to involve the CC at a meeting to be held next weekend.
“The position at the NEC is that we should prioritise the creation of party structures in the wards and constituencies throughout the country. In some instances, we have structures whose formations were unconstitutional. We also need to resuscitate our Women’s Wings and Youth Leagues among other structures because, for all intents and purposes, they are almost not functioning,” said Ntsima.
Meanwhile, the BPP president, Motlatsi Molapisi, who doubles as the chairman of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will be the guest speaker at the launch of the UDC candidate for Maphula ward in Palapye on Saturday afternoon.