Thursday, October 29, 2020

BCP/ BAM accord on shaky ground

The Botswana Congress Party is once again embroiled in yet another bitter tussle with some of its disgruntled members over the way the party leadership conducted constituency allocations in the pact agreement with BAM. The Sunday Standard is reliably informed that despite the brave faces, and even after a very successful launch in Maun last week, the BCP leadership is struggling to quell the smoldering cauldron of discontent inherent in the party structures, which, if left unchecked, might explode and eventually leave a tattered BCP as the greatest loser in their marriage of convenience with the Botswana Alliance Movement.

Many BCP members have in the past expressed concern that their leadership was bending over backwards to accommodate the unreasonable demands of BAM in constituency allocations, even going to the extent of seceding constituencies in which they have a stronger footing than their negotiation partners. Close sources have revealed that discontent still reigns within BCP after the recent constituency allocation, when BCP surprised many as it surrendered some of its political strongholds like Francistown West, South East South and Maun East constituencies to BAM, in the process dragging some of its long serving members to the alter as sacrificial lambs in their no holds barred courtship of BAM.

The controversy was once again brought to the fore last week when BCP activists from Francistown West, among them Albert Mudanga and Reuben Ketlhoilwe dealt the Maun celebrations a sobering blow as they slapped Secretary General Taolo Lucas with a strongly worded letter demanding an explanation why the leadership had decided to surrender their constituency to BAM without due consultation. After signing the accord with BAM recently, BCP surprised many when they surrendered the Francistown West constituency to BAM despite the fact that their candidate Whyte Marobela had polled more votes than BAM’s Matlhomola Modise in the last elections.

Recently BCP’s Linus Dikhudu resigned after he was shoved to the sidelines to make way for BAM President Ephraim Setshwaelo in South East South even though he had put up a better showing, polling 2723 votes to Setshwaelo’s 2640 in the last general elections. A war of words subsequently erupted and a disgruntled Dikhudu quit the party saying that he did not want to belong to a party that obviously placed no value on him as they had shown readiness to discard him without second thoughts. BCP sources have indicated that the resignation of Dikhudu has angered many within the party ranks in the constituency and another confrontation may erupt as disgruntled constituents speak out.

In an interview with The Sunday Standard on Friday Taolo Lucas urged members to appreciate the importance of the project and look at the bigger picture. He explained that the constituency allocations were made in the spirit of the cooperation talks and compromise and sacrifice for the common objective of unseating BDP from power.

”While most constituencies were allocated on the principle of proportionality we had to make concessions to accommodate our cooperation partners in line with the spirit of sacrifice and compromise which are the key pillars on which this pact is based” he said.

He urged members to note that their executive will always negotiate in the best interests of the party and democracy.

But Lucas’s reassurances seem to have fallen on deaf ears as once again members are demanding answers to their leadership’s questionable decision. Sources within BCP have indicated that the leadership stands to lose a lot if they do not act to address the issue as Marobela is a powerful figure both within the party and in the Francistown West constituency.” Apart from the fact that BCP stands at risk of losing Marobela and his supporters, a la Mogalakwe, they are also at risk of losing potential votes from protest members if they field an unwanted candidate” they said.

Lucas has once again pleaded for calm saying that only cooperation and consultation will uphold the pact with BAM. He maintained that despite the few problems that they are currently facing the pact has generally proven very successful. He added that while a few individuals might be unhappy with the developments the pact was making tremendous progress especially in areas like South East South, Ngami, Francistown and Maun.

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