Member of Parliament for Kanye North who left Botswana Democratic Party just after becoming Secretary General of the ruling party has said he does not regret his decision to join opposition at a time when many opposition members seem to be no longer able to stomach the hardships that go with opposition politics.
In an interview, Kentse Rammidi said he relishes the freedom to be able to debate issues in parliament without having to walk around shells and check over his shoulder to make sure he was not offending the president.
“I had started to lose interest in politics. Since joining Botswana Congress Party I have once again reconnected with my enthusiasm for politics,” said Rammidi.
He said his view remains that the BDP is irredeemable and has now run out of ideas.
“Having gone through a conference and having experienced a campaign under the BCP I feel a renewed energy. I was beginning to lose confidence in politics. I feel good that I have found people who have conviction,” he said.
Before joining BCP, Rammidi had a short stint at Botswana National Front, but was quickly disillusioned when the BNF went through its seasonal cannibalism activities.
He said not only is BCP well organized, he also finds it enriching that the party has made a decision to link its MPs with a group of experts who add value and depth on technical issues that the MPs bring before parliament.
“We call these experts the parliamentary support group. They are very enriching and they bring with them the quality that you hear among our debates. I now enjoy parliament,” he said.
Rammidi said he still gets questions on just why he left the BDP and more crucially on whether or not he regrets his shocking decision to quit.
“My answer is always the same; the BDP has run out of steam. I don’t regret leaving the BDP, not a bit. That party has lost focus,” he said.
He said all the BCP has to do is to remain focused in selling its message, “and the results are promising.”
But why is the BCP not winning by-elections? “With all their resources the BDP is not doing well. If you take the recent by-election at Francistown we had a new candidate while the BDP’s knew his way around. For us it was a defeat but it was not embarrassing.”
He said Batswana should be worried that the country is faced with mammoth challenges of diminishing diamond revenue and growing youth unemployment about which the ruling party does not seem to have an answer or a strategy.
“These problems are too big to be resolved by backyard gardens. We shouldn’t be threatened by BDP freebies. Very soon people will see that a blanket is not going to change my life.”
He said if BCP had even half of the resources that the ruling BDP has, there was going to be a tough contest in 2014.
“That said I still believe that the BCP has a chance of about 20 constituencies in the 2014 elections. Clearly the show is on, especially for the 2019 General elections,” he said.
He said the other challenge facing the BCP is to reach out to those parts of the country where the party has no presence. “We have to spread to new areas, especially the south of the country.
Admittedly the crown may not be possible in 2014 but growth will be there, especially in areas where the BCP did not exist before.”