The Botswana Congress Party’s only councillor in Palapye has raised doubts of whether, given its current lethargy, the party can win the constituency.
In a letter to the National Organising Committee (NOC) Maina Kgopo complains that although the constituency is among those that the party wants to add to its winning column, structures have been comatose way too long.
“Since the bye-election, the party has been polarised. Instead of focusing on party business, we call each other names, point fingers at each other as well as blame, badmouth, hate, gossip about and sabotage each other,” Kgopo writes.
The bye-election in question happened last year after then area MP, Boyce Sebetela, resigned midway through his parliamentary term to join Debswana Diamond Company. In the election that followed, the BCP polled second best, garnering 1476 votes ÔÇô only 462 less than the Botswana Democratic Party. In the upcoming general election, BCP’s James Olesitse will once more lock horns with Master Goya of the BDP.
Kgopo also alleges that some members do not turn up for meetings when asked to do so and that this and other problems has affected the morale of party members.
“There is no joy; morale has gone down when we are left with only five months [before the election],” Kgopo says.
When the situation is this bad, the branch and regional committees should be able to come to the rescue but Kgopo alleges that both committees have been unable to resolve the problem. That explains his appeal to the NOC.
“I request that the national organising committee answer this call by paying us a visit and hear more grievances from other party members,” he writes.
The fact-finding mission has yet to take place because members of the NOC have been tied up in their own business. Although he has yet to receive Kgopo’s letter, the committee’s secretary, Phillip Monowe, says that he has been briefed about its contents by the secretary general, Taolo Lucas. A BCP parliamentary candidate in Kgatleng South, Monowe says that he has been too busy with registering voters to be able to tackle the Palapye issue. However, he hopes to be able to go to constituency and deal with the matter after the registration exercise ends.
Following his triumph in the 2004 general election, Kgopo is the only BCP councillor in a heavily-Botswana Democratic Party constituency. His grievances notwithstanding, Kgopo retains the hope that the party still has a good chance of winning the constituency “but only if we unite and work for the party as used to be the case”.