The Chairperson of the Botswana Democratic Party, Daniel Kwelagobe, has recently cautioned his party against taking the opposition for granted.
Speaking during an extraordinary congress called to elect the Kweneng District Regional Committee, Kwelagobe told the democrats that while they underrate opposition parties, his observation is different.
He says while the BDP is by all account likely to win the 2014 elections, beyond that there is no longer any certainty.
The opposition, he said, has remained consistent.
All that changes is the political party memberships. He said it is important to note that the BDP does not gain much from the opposition. Rather it is the opposition that has kept gaining more from the BDP over the years. This, he said, is shown by the past general elections result that indicated that the BDP had only three percent winning margin over the opposition.
“The opposition today is not like the past one of Dr Kenneth Koma, Klaas Motshidisi or Motsamai Mpho whom we recently laid to rest. The current opposition comprises of energetic young people who are also learned. We know that their parties do not have money. But everytime there are by-elections we see them placing candidates throughout the country. On the other hand, democrats will always murmur about having their vehicles fuelled, this and that when asked to carry out party assignments,” said Kwelagobe.
He told the BDP faithful that as elders they are tired of factions within the party.
He thanked them for having come in numbers and said he would not be amused if they did not turn up. He reminded them of the time when the national congress was held in Kanye in which the party president was elected. Stories, he said, made rounds to the effect that Kweneng District did not elect the party President, something that was untrue as the district has indeed elected the President. He attributed this to the loss of party spirit which he said was finding ground inside the BDP.
The veteran legislator further warned against a culture of bootlicking. He said such a culture denied the party of growth opportunities.
Kwelagobe said there is a tendency by democrats to just follow their leaders in everything they said and did, without advising them even when they noticed that their beloved leaders were at fault.
He emphasized the fact that the democrats should desist from in-fights while the opposition parties grabbed seats. He reminded them that in the North West District the BDP has only one parliamentary seat. From Dibete up to the Southern border, the BDP has no control – only in the Kweneng District.
There is high percentage of opposition voters in the capital Gaborone, he said.
This should send cautionary signals to the democrats that the opposition threat cannot be ignored.
“Divisions should end. Lo diiwa ke go ngapangapana le ya ko ditlhophong lo le matsadi (you are busy fighting against each other and will go to the elections divided).This will give the opposition an edge,” he said.
He expressed his concern on the negative changes he saw on the party. His biggest worry is that members even went to the extent of not respecting the party constitution. His prediction is that BDP, judging from its current performance, will win general elections but only up to 2019. After that period, it might lose. It was, therefore, important that the party worked hard from the cells, the wards and the regions.