A former firebrand of the Botswana Congress Party, Lotty Manyapeza who is now a rising star inside the ruling Botswana Democratic party has lashed out at opposition parties.
In a no blows barred interview with the Sunday Standard, Manyapeza has told of how happy and content he now is at the Botswana Democratic Party.
“I grew up inside the opposition. I never viewed the BDP members as normal people. But after joining them I got to appreciate just how normal the BDP members are,” he said.
He said from his experience the BDP is much closer to the Botswana National Front because these are the only two parties that any hard working politician can rise through the ranks and become the leader.
“That can never happen at the BCP. It also cannot happen at Botswana Movement for Democracy. Leadership, especially at the BCP is reserved for certain people. And there are always powerful voices in the shadows who decide who gets which position,” he said.
Now that he has settled at the BDP, what would he say he sees as the future of his former party, the BCP? “They will die. They have no future,” he says as a matter of fact.
Manyapeza rules out the possibility of BCP eventually joining the Umbrella for Democratic Change, adding that there remains powerful voices inside the BCP who are hell bent on keeping the BCP away from the UDC.
Such people, he said have a point. He said their thinking is that you do not just add the numbers for the sake of it if you are not backed by consensus on policy and ideology.
“The BCP that I know is for Social Democracy. I do not know a lot about the UDC, but I have heard some of them talk about Liberal Democracy,” he said.
He said that as a party the UDC is not strong enough on the ground because all they are concerned about is reacting to events and also picking on the shortcomings of the Botswana Democratic Party.
“If you follow the UDC closely, they are a group of people who are always waiting for the BDP to trip and they all of a sudden wake up. Tell me for example when was the last UDC congress? Who elected the current UDC leadership? Will Duma Boko still be UDC leader if he lost his BNF position as President or is he the UDC life President? These are difficult question that no UDC member wants to answer. I have never seen people who do not care about their party in the manner that is the case with UDC members,” said Manyapeza.
While Manyapeza is dismissive of the UDC, he keeps his most brutal attacks for the BCP.
He says people who are pushing for the BCP to join UDC are a few who are doing it for self-preservation.
“Take Dithapelo Keorapetse for example. He is making the biggest noise about BCP joining because he has calculated that is the only way for him to continue as a Member of Parliament in Selibe Phikwe. Dumelang Saleshando wants UDC because he wants to be given a leadership position close to Duma Boko. Kesitelegile Gobotswang wants BCP to join UDC because for him that is the only way he can have hopes of becoming a Member of Parliament as UDC supporters in Tswapong will be forced to vote him.”
He said that notwithstanding there are still voices against BCP joining the UDC.
First on the list is Phagenyana Phage, who recently caused a big scare inside the BCP when he resigned before he was counseled back.
“I think Phage will eventually leave. Where will he end up? The BDP of course,” said Manyapeza.
He is of the view that like many BCP foot soldiers, Phage is frustrated by the fact that nothing is as of now happening inside the BCP.
“Just how does a party stop all its activities because they are expecting to join another one? This is very annoying to many people who have worked hard for BCP over the years. Many of these will end up at the BDP,” said Manyapeza.