Saturday, June 22, 2024

Opposition activists warming up to 2019 general election

Opposition political activists are already toying around with the idea of dissolution of their individual parties in favour of a united coalition with sufficient financial and human resources to compete against the BDP. 

The view is loud and clear that unless individual opposition parties are dissolved to pave way for a solid umbrella formation, prospects of effecting a peaceful regime change to overthrow the ruling BDP will remain elusive for quite a long time. There are early signs that a united umbrella coalition is destined for political victory as such a model would enhance the objective of liberating Batswana from the current political, social and economic quagmire engulfing the country. 

A united front would thus pool its human and financial resources for a common good with the zeal to mount a strong challenge to the ruling party.

Not only that, they will embrace a political ideology marketable to the disillusioned voting public which is yearning for peaceful regime change characterized by improved life standards.

In their currently fragmented form, the opposition parties are highly likely to continue squabbling over allocation of constituencies to the benefit of the evidently tired ruling party which is running out of ideas. 

“We are fighting a common enemy (the BDP). The party has failed to deliver on people’s aspirations especially the creation of sustainable jobs that help to alleviate poverty. Batswana are suffering and yearning for a peaceful change of government. A fragmented opposition will continue to fight itself instead of agreeing on a workable ideology that is in sync with people’s feelings. There is no doubt that the BDP is busy intensifying its recruitment drive. In its weakened state characterized by waning popular support, the BDP is already employing strategies to destabilize the opposition as evidenced by the recruitment of leading key opposition figures. A case in point is the recent recruitment of Okavango Member of Parliament Bagalatia Arone,” said one activist who preferred anonymity.

In addition the ruling party recently increased specially elected Members of Parliament to enhance its numerical strength in parliament. It has further resolved to hold early primary elections in opposition held constituencies and wards.   
Nervous opposition political activists believe dissolution of different opposition parties in favour of a single formidable political party is a sure way to go to avert the ongoing onslaught by the ruling party on key opposition executives. 

Opposition parties should always be alive to the fact that the 2011 opposition talks collapsed because they couldn’t agree on the fundamental issue of sharing constituency allocation.

“If we form a single united front now, that will give aspiring council and parliament candidates enough time to canvass for support and endear themselves to the electorate so that by the time of the primaries, their minds are made up on who to vote. Further, if the primaries are held early, that on its own would afford  the united front ample time to resolve whatever differences that may be arising. It will be wrong to marginalize capable former Botswana Congress Party activists who want to contest the primaries simple because they were not part of the umbrella in 2014. Formation of a single united front now will also kill the big brother mentality within some members of the movement. A united opposition party would embrace similar democratic principles,” added the activists.


Another activist concurs that the results of the 2014 general election show that Batswana are yearning for peaceful regime change and do not want the BDP to continue running the country. He added that it is clear that the BDP has run out of ideas  and the time now is ripe for different people to come on board and serve the nation.

The BCP has already taken a great leap by admitting its mistakes and putting the aspirations of the voters ahead of everything by agreeing that the voter is key and the only workable political solution is for them to come on board  and present a united opposition with the power  to overthrow the BDP.

“For as long as the opposition continues to split the votes as it happened in 2014, the BDP will inadvertently be given  a new lease of life. By forming a united opposition, apathetic voters will realize our seriousness and join us now before it is too late. The current dispensation in which different parties are contracting members of the umbrella formation is not a good and sustainable model for the long term,” said the activist adding that Botswana is too small a country to embrace a fragmented opposition that share a common vision but only failing to unite.

“If we dissolve our parties now and form a single united opposition front, it will give us sufficient time to mount sustainable political education strategies. Every member will then feel he or she is part of the organization and play his or her meaningful role within the organization on a clear understating that our common enemy is the BDP,”  added the political activist.

He said although the umbrella model yielded positive results in 2014 by winning 20 constituencies, it is not guaranteed that the same dynamics could be expected in 2019. 

Formation of a single united opposition coalition will help us to ensure that all Batswana apply to become members of the united front. It will also ensure that we have strong secretariat that will deliver in accordance with the mandate it has been assigned by the united front leadership including the processing of party membership cards.

“The BDP is busy infiltrating and destabilizing opposition contracting parties within the umbrella. They are working around the clock to ensure that they win the next general election. They are busy resolving differences within their rank and file hence the need for us to move and form a formidable single united block that will stand the test of time.”

The activist also added that, “If we are not careful, prior to the 2019 general elections we will start jostling for positions of political power thereby weakening the umbrella as disgruntled members will defect to the BDP. However, if we start the process now, we will keep on fine tuning our systems and remedying the mistakes that we may encounter. Batswana are losing patience and voter apathy may increase in 2019. The youth are angry and we should capitalize on their anger to form a single united front that will deliver on their aspirations. They need jobs like yesterday. They do not want to continue enduring the levels of poverty currently plaguing them. The youth are yearning for a single united front that will deliver them out of the current quagmire,” said activist.

However, a political commentator said all opposition parties must be allowed sufficient time to debate their issues and resolve whatever differences they envision so that at the end of the day, they come up with a sustainable cooperation model bereft of potential hiccups.


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