Sunday, June 16, 2024

BCP could still hold key to 2019 general election outcome

Despite its dismal performance in the past general election, in which it obtained  a paltry parliament seats and reduced number of councillors,BCP cannot be easily dismissed off as a non-entity due to it increased popular vote of 20 percent.

The popular vote encourages BCP die-hards to believe their party is still relevant in the current political landscape and could easily be turned into a force to reckon with if its future fortunes are properly harnessed.  

By and large, the party could still hold a crucial determining factor on who wins the next general election between ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the main opposition ÔÇô Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

Little wonder the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has embarked on a covert crusade to destabilize the party while the emerging Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is slowly but surely cozying up to a working relationship with the party either as a member or cooperating partner.

Failure by the overzealous UDC to quickly embrace BCP overtures over a solid working relationship to oust the BDP could prove catastrophic.

Political commentator Anthony Ndulamo Morima posits that if the BCP does not join the UDC or BDP, and if neither the BDP nor the UDC attains the requisite majority to govern during the forthcoming general elections, the BCP will be a power broker since a ruling coalition will be necessary for the formation of government.

“This will however depend on the number of seats, if any, the BCP will have obtained in parliament”, according to the commentator.

In the same breath, Morima explained that before the 2014 general elections and before the unity and prudent leadership in the BCP became eroded, the BCP’s relevance in Botswana politics could not be questioned.

“The truth is that for as long as both the BDP and the UDC need the BCP, and for as long as the likelihood exists that the BDP and the UDC may fail to get the requisite majority at the next general elections, the BCP remains relevant for it may be the power broker for the formation of the government at the 2019 general elections”, said Morima

While the party leadership has lately received scathing attacks for steadfastly seeking a fair deal in its impending cooperation with the UDC, Morima does not find fault with such a position. His view is that it is neither wrong nor unreasonable for the BCP and its leader Dumelang Saleshando to ask for a fair deal from the UDC.

“On the contrary, it would be irresponsible for any party leader to settle for a raw deal in negotiations for party unity. However because the BCP’s political capital and goodwill has since been eroded in view of its dismal performance during the 2014 general elections as well as the current lack of unity caused by the opposition cooperation issue, BCP’s bargaining power has been reduced significantly and it is likely to get less than could have gotten had it been part of the opposition cooperation from the beginning”, asserts Morima.

This view is also shared by both the BCP and the UDC members who firmly believe that had the BCP been part of the umbrella, BDP could not have won the last general election. The members believe that the UDC and BCP now need each other more than before. For them it’s a sad reality that neither party can ignore given the tricks that the BDP is already employing to destabilize the BCP and endear its members to its fold.

BCP members who are pro-oppostition cooperation want their party to move quickly and conclude the cooperation talks so that the two parties can start mobilizing and pooling their resources in time so that in the event any disagreements emerge, they are solved quickly before the 2019 general elections.

The BCP members are apprehensive that if their party rejects opposition cooperation in its current state, it is likely to suffer more in 2019 since voters seem to readying themselves for an opposition government in the coming general election underscoring that the BDP has already outlived its usefulness as a ruling party.

“The BDP has been in power since 1966. Its vote share has been on the decline clearly demonstrating that Batswana do not need it anymore. It is therefore imperative for the two main opposition camps to work together and attain state power for the benefit of Batswana who are toiling in abject poverty and unemployment”, said a BCP member who is not authorized to speak on behalf of the party.

His fear is that the BDP has of late unleashed its clandestine efforts to destabilize his party and sow seeds of discontent especially among those who are still dithering and undecided on opposition cooperation.

To buttress his fear, the BCP member added that this is why President Ian Khama recently unveiled an economic stimulus package at the recent BDP special congress in a bid to endear himself to the multitudes of Batswana who are currently trapped in poverty.

His view is that the economic stimulus package is not a genuine endeavour by the government to boost economic activity and improve people’s lives. “The economic stimulus package is deliberately designed to distract Batswana and portray the BDP as a party that cares for their welfare. It is day light political chicanery aimed at confusing illiterate Batswana who may easily think the BDP is trying to do something positive for them. The BDP must be shown outright that it has outlived its usefulness and Batswana eager to usher in a new government that is not soiled with corruption and untoward activities” emphasized the BCP die-hard.

Morima explains that a destabilized BCP is good for the BDP in that some of the BCP members may defect to the BDP as has been the case with some former members of the BCP Youth League who recently defected to the BDP.

The other reason the BDP wants to destabilize the BCP is to instill fear among BCP members who may not want to join the UDC from a weak position that is unlikely to earn them a good deal.

Further, the BDP could be eager to destabilize the BCP by luring its leadership through lucrative offers government positions. “After all, there are media reports that the BDP secretary general Botsalo Ntuane is leading efforts to recruit the BCP to its fold”, asserted Morima.

Asked whether in his view the UDC could manage to assume state power in 2019 without BCP support and/or involvement, Morima said it (UDC) can since it is not only likely to win more seats from the ruling BDP, but is also likely to win one or two of the seats that the BCP currently holds.

He added that the current lack of unity within the BCP resulting from dissenting voices regarding opposition cooperation is the main reason why the BCP may lose a seat or two to the UDC in 2019.

The political commentator concluded that if the BCP does not join the UDC or the BDP and neither of the two attains the requisite majority to govern during the forthcoming general election, BCP will be power broker since a ruling coalition will be necessary for the formation of a government depending on the number of seats the BCP attains in parliament.


Read this week's paper