The 2004 General election results indicate that Batswana voted the BCP in large numbers.
This is particularly important bearing in mind that the BCP was only 6 years old.
The BCP got 68 556 votes.
This means that the BCP had an annual growth rate of 11426 votes. In its 39th year of existence, the BNF got only 103 936 votes indicating that the BNF is growing at a lesser rate than the BCP.
It also means the BNF has an annual growth rate of 2665 votes. The BDP, on the other hand, got 213 308 votes in their 42nd year of existence meaning that the BDP growth is also lesser than that of the BCP as this number indicates that the BDP is having an annual reverse growth of 5 078 votes.
A further analysis of these figures clearly indicates that the BCP is the only party that Batswana are endorsing at an accelerated pace.
The above figures, when translated into percentages, show that the BCP cannot be simply wished away by its adversaries.
The results translate into BCP getting 17 percent of the total number of the people who voted countrywide in 2004.
The accumulation of 17 percent popular vote by a 6-year-old party is proof of an incontestable fact that the BCP has been, by all intents and purposes, given to Batswana as an alternative.
Perhaps the other factor that makes the BCP to grow at a faster pace is the fact that Batswana find the BCP more accommodative, more mature and professionally run than the other parties, especially the BNF which has had many break-ups from its internal fighting and tussles for control.
The other reason why the BCP managed to garner large number of votes in a space of 6 years is the fact that the BCP has been more articulate in selling its policies, programmes and ideas.
The BCP has been clear on how best it wants to run the country as opposed to selling Batswana ancient and incomprehensible political theories of Karl Mark.
On the other hand, the BNF figure shows that in its almost four decades of existence (39 years) in 2004, the BNF only managed to get only 25 percent of the popular vote with a margin of only 8 percent not far from the 17 percent accumulated by the BCP in 6 years.
An interesting observation is the fact that the BNF accumulated this 25 percent not alone but with the help of two other political parties, being BAM and BPP.
In addition to the help they got from BAM and BPP, the BNF benefited also from the fact that Batswana thought that the BNF were genuinely interested in ousting the BDP. As a result many ended up voting for the BNF.
Even those who wanted to vote for the BCP were probably convinced that the BNF was genuine in their gesture towards the 2004 elections. This above observation, therefore, makes one to conclude that the 8 percent margin that the BNF has over the BCP now means nothing to them as now BAM, which loyally assisted the BNF to get the 25 percent of the popular vote, is now with the BCP.
This happened after the BNF rebelled against the opposition unity talks much supported by the public.
As of the BPP not much can be said about them as they seem not to be alive these days and not expected to make any major difference in the coming election results.
The slow growth of the BNF and the high growth of the BCP indicate that Batswana have obviously lost hope in the main opposition party.
With the BCP in the field, Batswana now have an opportunity to choose a better product other than the old BNF-BDP axis. The generally unappetizing character of the BNF with difficult to understand political ideology brewed by Dr. Elmon Tafa and company, unplanned special congresses with horrible results, expulsion of senior members and the withdrawal and resignation of top BNF leaders such as Dr Letshabo, Letshwiti Tutwane and others also helps us to see why the BNF is no longer the favourite among the long suffering voters who want change as soon as yesterday.
For the BDP, the 2004 results translate into a reduced growth of 52 percent popular vote which signals the fall of the BDP.
It means the BDP are only holding power by a thread. Everyone knows that the BDP has got no future in the politics of this country save perhaps for historic references only.
The memories many will have of the BDP will be of a party that struggled with little success to solve high rates of unemployment.
This is painful given that Botswana has a population of less than 1.8 million, with a wealth of diamond resources.
The BDP rule will be remembered as the rule where Batswana lived in severe pains of poverty and hunger with the BDP failing to come up with alternative economic and social empowerment schemes.
Many of their programs could only further impoverish Batswana and increase their debts.
The BDP will be remembered as the party which engineered the decline of democracy, consultation, rule of law, the death of Bogosi and sought to usher in dictatorship where the public was shut out of electing their representatives such as the president.
The nation shall also remember the BDP rule by the repressive educational reforms such as the introduction of school fees to the poor Batswana.
Perhaps in closure, I need to indicate that public debates are a healthy exercise by constituents of a democratic country. No one has the right to take away one’s right to freedom of expression as the likes of once enterprising comrades like BNF’s Comrade Tafa Moore wants to do. Granted, BNF is a party on its own with it’s never ending problems and at the BCP we recognise that.
What we, at the BCP, will not allow is a situation whereby one gets to make BNF problems that of the BCP.
Each time the BNF is engaged in a civil war, Tafa and company ignore their responsibility of taking the BNF problems head on.
Instead, and perhaps out of jealousy for BCP successes, they start to fire all kinds of accusations at the BCP without telling the people what wrong the BCP had exactly done to them.
It is Tafa’s right too to air his views in public but his main weakness is that he sometimes becomes too emotional as he went all the way to attack one Bank Ndebele instead of rebutting the issues that Banks raised as one would expect from a ‘Dr’ like him. I would advise too that Tafa should from now on desist from the constant attacks he subjects the BCP to because he is doing exactly what he did by attacking his president in the newspapers resulting in him being severely punished in Molepolole.
Again Dr. Tafa should find a way of endearing himself to the BNF leadership and the ‘masses’.
He cannot do that by attacking the BCP but rather by communicating with the ordinary masses who do not understand his bombastic Russian/Marxist terms of collapsed systems of governance. I wish he would have been more fortunate to have lived in the early 1900s, preferably in Russia, as we hear that’s where they practised communism.
Borrowing from Kwame Nkurumah’s words, the progressive nation, led by Gilson Saleshando, Setshwaelo, Bayford’s BCP/NDF/BAM forces, face neither west nor east, but forward we move towards victory in 2009. Adversaries can on their own peril wish the BCP away.
Thato. O. Mabeleng
Oodi/ Matebele (Kgatleng East)