The political amalgamation between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) will on Saturday reach the highest perch as the two parties officially seal the pact of cooperation agreement in Maun despite much outrage and criticisms from other opposition parties over the weakness of the model.
A press statement said the launch targeted Maun not only because of its centrality and proximity to most constituencies, in which both BCP and BAM have significant following, but also because the pact strongly believes that it is going to win quite a number of constituencies in the North West from the BDP in the 2009 elections.
The BCP and BAM believe the main opposition party (BNF) is not a thorn in the north because the party has an insignificant following and, as a result, would do less harm in the split of votes.
“The pact believes that the BNF is not a significant player in the north.
It is, therefore, befitting to launch the pact in an area where both parties are well received,” reads the statement.
The constituencies the pact targets are Okavango, Ngami, Maun East and West, Chobe, Nkange, Nata Gweta, Francistown South, East and West, Tati East and West.
In the 2004 general elections, the BNF performed badly in these areas with unconvincing numbers of votes whilst the combined force of the BCP and BAM surpassed the BDP.
For example, in the last general elections in Nkange, the BDP polled 5291.
In turn the BCP got 2361 while BAM went away with 3922 votes.
BDP won the race because of split of votes.
It is certainly because of this situation that the pact believes it can takeover the targeted constituencies.
But the BCP and BAM association has never escaped outrages and criticisms from other opposition parties, especially from the BNF, which criticized the pact model for prolonging BDP stay in power.
At a recent political meeting in Gaborone, the BNF publicity secretary, Mahomed Khan, said his party was against the model as it splits the number of seats according to the parties to the advantage of the BDP.
“The BNF is against the pact model as it serves to prolong BDP stay in power. The party attempted the model in 2004 in association with BAM and BPP but we lost dismally,” Khan charged.
Khan attributed the loss to the pact. His party, he said, lobbied for an alliance model where opposition parties would subscribe to the main opposition party using its disc while at the same time without losing their original identity.
Interestingly, minor opposition parties would not accept the move which they said was designed to swallow them and criticized the BNF for masquerading as big brother.
Thus the cooperation collapsed with the parties taking their own routes.
Determined to safeguard their discourse over the pact and elude being swallowed, the BCP and BAM remained and nurtured the pact.
The statement reveals that the launch will take place in time to focus on the parties’ respective primary elections, which will take place before the end of the year and early next year.
The parties also lament that, after such a long and arduous journey, through difficult but important negotiations, spanning a period of close to two years, out of the initial four parties (BCP, BAM, BNF and BPP) only two parties remain (BCP and BAM) to witness the historic launch.
Besides the BNF, they are some dissenting voices that doubt the pact’s ability to takeover in the north, especially since the pact decisions are based on the outcome of the last general elections.
They argue politics is dynamic and, as such, could not be influenced by the 2004 general elections. So many developments have transpired after the elections, they argue.
They cite the recent BNF operation Tsosoloso as one of the developments that could work against the pact.
“The pact should know the recent BNF operation Tsosoloso was meant to resuscitate and lure voters across the country, including the areas the pact believes are their targets into their fold,” they argued.
They predict a BDP landslide victory because of split of votes, blaming opposition parties’ failure to come up with the best suitable model.
“Opposition parties should have seized the opportunity to work together and wrestle power from the BDP, which, lately, introduced unpopular policies,” they contended.