Daily News, Botswana
Summary: The director of the
Media Institute for Southern Africa, speaking at a Botswana Congress
Party conference, calls for a an electoral system combining full
representation (proportional representation) with single-member
districts. Botswana currently uses the plurality system, and the
National Assembly has been dominated by a single party for decades.
Daily News, Botswana
rule, opposition party splits frustrating, says MISA director
July 28, 2003
Perpetual rule by
one political party in Botswana and frequent splits among opposition
parties are frustrating, says a local political activist.
Maphanyane, director of MISA (Botswana Chapter) said over the
weekend that many people were surprised that there had been no
transfer of power from one political party to another in the 36
years of the countryĺ─˘s independence.
"Does this imply that as a
country, we are incapable of a peaceful transfer of power from one
party to another, as has happened to our neighbours?" he said when
officially opening the fourth Botswana Congress Party (BCP) annual
conference in Mahalapye.
The gathering was held under the theme:
"leading the way for meaningful democratic development." Also,
Maphanyane expressed astonishment that local opposition parties had
suffered debilitating splits due to power struggles or failure to
have a common ideology.
"Because of such splits the country lacks a
strong and viable alternative ĺ─˛government-in-waitingĺ─˘. This state of
affairs cannot be allowed to continue." He appealed to opposition
parties to halt their mutation and begin to tackle issues that were
important and pertinent to Batswana.
State funding of political
parties was necessary in a democratic dispensation and could help
strength democracy, Maphanyane said.
He requested political parties
to assist women and the youth to contest the 2004 general elections
as gender equality and mainstreaming would not align themselves
unplanned by those in power if the matters were left unresolved.
"It is time that political parties commit themselves beyond ĺ─˛just
wordsĺ─˘, and start showing commitment to these mentioned groups," he
Maphanyane said Batswana must think seriously about adopting
an electoral system that combined the good aspects of first past the
post and proportional representation.
This was because the current
system had proven inadequate, he told the audience which included
South African, Indian, Namibian, Angolan and Cuban ambassadors.
Maphanyne paid tribute to Batswana who contributed to opposition
politics such as Phillip Matante, Motsamai Mpho, Bathoen Gaseitsiwe
and Ruth Motsete, among others.
Representatives of the Congress of
Democrats in Namibia, Linus Muchila and Rosa Namises, as well as
representatives of different local civic organisations also attended
the meeting. BOPA