The recent political marriage between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) serves to hoist high the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) flag.
Since its inception in 1998, the BCP never ceased to exhibit intimacy towards the BDP and the relationship seems to blossom whenever the general election period nears.
Speaking at a political rally at Old Naledi recently the Botswana National Front (BNF) secretary general, Mohamed Khan, said opposition parties could have long wrestled power from the BDP but the ‘unbreakable’ relationship between the BCP and the ruling party has been the major setback.
“The BNF was destined to oust the BDP in the 1999 general election. But the emergence of the BCP at the mercy of the BDP dashed all our chances of taking over governance.”
At present the BNF is lobbying for a sound opposition parties cooperation to outwit the BDP in the coming elections but the BCP and its friends are keen to elongate the BDP’s stay in power with the adoption of a pact model,” charged Khan.
He told the residents that the model itself can not end BDP rule but instead serves to promote BDP dominance.
“Under the pact arrangement, there is no way opposition parties could come up with a convincing number of seats to oust the BDP,” Khan observed.
He said the ‘first past the post’ election rule practiced in the country stipulates a party with the highest number of seats assumes victory and governance.
“Under the pact, if BNF polls 14 seats, BCP 16, BAM 7 and BDP 20, for example, BDP automatically wins governance,” Khan reasoned.
Because of such arrangement, he said, the BNF would not succumb to the pact saying “the pact does not hold water”.
The party secretary general strongly refuted allegations that suggested his party was against working with other opposition parties to wrestle power from BDP.
He says his party is adamant that with an alliance model in place, the BDP long rule could be nipped in the bud.
Having been dismally defeated in the 2004 general election through a pact model arrangement and with scars still visible from such a defeat, the party could not afford another humiliating defeat at the hands of the BDP.
“The BNF can not afford history to repeat itself. During the 2004 elections, the BNF cooperated and worked with BAM under a similar arrangement but the initiative was unsuccessful,” Khan acknowledged.
With such a humiliating defeat in mind coupled with the party’s quest to oust the ‘arrogant’ BDP, the party believes an alliance model is ideal.
He said such arrangement worked successfully in South Africa where other opposition parties subscribed to the main ANC under its ticket and won governance.
The visibly optimistic Khan asked “If the South Africans can do it, why can’t we?”
Khan dismissed as rubbish suggestions that his party intends to swallow other opposition parties.
He reassured other opposition parties on their full identity adding their number one enemy was the BDP.
Khan said under the BNF subscription, seasoned politicians from the BCP and other political parties could easily sail through into parliament.
Towns and villages, such as SelebiÔÇôPhikwe, Francistown and Ghantsi, could be under the control of opposition parties.
He asserted that seasoned politicians, like Gil Saleshando, who are politically struggling but unsuccessful, could have long entered parliament.
About the recently passed Security and Intelligence bill, area MP, Akanyang Magama, warned the residents to prepare for a ‘police state’ under vice president Ian Khama.
Magama said the bill was the brain-child of Khama, who has hardly seven months to ascend to the presidency, to silence the opposition.
He said that the country was already ‘marching towards dictatorship’ as evidenced by the recent visa requirements to certain foreign academics known to write on sensitive CKGR and other thorny issues pertaining to the country.
In a bizarre twist, he said a certain John White was harassed and detained at the airport because the BDP government believed they had ‘caught their prey whom they had blacklisted’ only to find out that they had detained the wrong person.
The Gaborone South MP also took a swipe at the government for considering hosting an American base in the country despite South Africa’s Defence minister advising other African countries to say no to such a base.
Magama said he was suspicious about the consultations and considerations as revealed by President Mogae and his defence minister.
He urged the residents to support the marches organized by the party against ‘the unscrupulous BDP/American deal’, adding that “anti-American enemies kill but indiscriminately.”