The spokesperson of the newly-formed Botswana Patriotic Front, Justice Motlhabani, says that the party’s election manifesto is 90 percent complete.
“I must say it is a breathtaking document, in quality of content and aesthetics,” he says. “It contains clear targets and pragmatic deliverables. I have no doubt it will be well received.”
He adds that the final draft will be presented to the National Executive Committee for approval this week after which it will be launched in Francistown at a yet to be announced date. After Serowe where the party was formed, Kanye, where it was launched, Palapye, where it held its inaugural national elective congress, Francistown will become the fourth place where the party has held a major event.
The other important revelation that Motlhabani make is that the NEC will initiate a process to establish formal links with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). After the party’s inaugural elective congress last week, the NEC met last on Monday and according him, deliberated on the matter.
“While I’m not at liberty to get into details on possible strategic agreements, I can confirm that the NEC has mandated a team to discuss formal models of partnership with the UDC bearing in mind time constraints. Now that we have an NEC, we expect this process to move more speedily and an announcement will be made soon.”
BPF, notably its founder, former President Ian Khama, has a complex relationship with UDC. While Khama has been chummy-chummy with UDC and Botswana National Front president, Duma Boko, since leaving office, some party leaders are very uneasy about this relationship. BNF Vice President, Reverend Dr. Prince Dibeela, has been quoted in the press a saying that party founder, Dr. Kenneth Koma, would “turn in his grave” if the BNF ever established any sort of working relationship with Khama.
The complexity of the BPF-UDC relationship also manifests itself in terms of operational processes because while UDC already has a manifesto, BPF doesn’t. Naturally, this raises the question of what this relationship is contracted over if it has no public policy dimension. Motlhabani sees the issue differently, noting in the first instance that both parties are “social democratic” movements with a common “political enemy” in the Botswana Democratic Party.
“Whether you like it or not, when the interest of two separate political actors coincide, inter-dependence or synergy is the most effective and efficient course of action. There is more that binds us together with the UDC – than that which separates us, for the ultimate good and prosperity of Batswana.”
As unusually interesting about the formative phase of the BPF is whom Motlhabani says is interested in joining the party.
“We have received applications for membership from former Botswana Movement for Democracy, BNF, Botswana Congress Party and Alliance for Progressives members as well as from former military officers and top civil servants – like former Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kolaatamo Malefho, among others.”
Malefho, who was PS in the Ministry of Health, lost in the BDP’s primary elections in Serowe South.