With the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government doing relatively well in developing the lives of Batswana, opposition parties in the country are in for a hard time, says lecturer David Sebudubudu.
It would take sometime, he said, for the opposition parties to unseat the BDP as the opposition parties are disintegrating, busy bickering among themselves and without a concrete political vision to oust the ruling BDP.
Sebudubudu said this when he addressed a delegation of Members of Parliament from the United Kingdom branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentarian Association (CPA) at the UB.
“Since the BDP government is doing relatively well in developing the lives of its citizens, especially those in the rural areas, opposition parties in the country are faced with a tough time,” Sebudubudu said, adding that it will take sometime for the opposition to convince the electorate and to unseat the BDP government because the country never suffered political instability under BDP leadership since independence.
By developing the lives of its citizens , he argued, the BDP government won the hearts of the electorate.
He cited education as one of the developments the BDP government fairly excelled in and said old women in the rural areas were proud of their well-off, educated children.
According to the lecturer, such developments do not augur well for the opposition parties. He said what attracts the electorate to the party is the fact that the situation on the ground suggested the BDP government was doing well, despite some isolated hiccups.
Sebudubudu said the BDP government was even doing quite well when compared to other neighbouring countries.
With the political status quo as it is, he said, the opposition “is not ready to run the country”.
On public opinion on the direct election of the president and the automatic succession to the presidency by the vice president as lobbied by the opposition parties, Sebudubudu told the delegates that public opinion suggested they supported constitutional amendments that provide for a popularly elected president as well as requiring popular election in the event of succession.
He said this was evidenced by the recent face to face interviews they conducted in the two official languages with 1200 respondents across 16 districts in May/June 2005.
The maverick lecturer is disturbed by the BDP government that fails to embrace the direct election of the president, adding that “if implemented the amendment would work for the ruling party.”
Sebudubudu said a directly elected president would be more powerful than the indirectly elected president since he would have the support of the voters.
He said similar constitutional amendments, like the lowering of the voting age to 18, as lobbied by the opposition in the past, never benefited opposition parties.
Sebudubudu believes it is time the government embraces the direct election of the president.
On funding of political parties, the lecturer said the time was due.
He is, however, loath about the development. Opposition parties’ structures, he said, are either not properly organized or functional.
He told the delegates that the voters elect the party not individuals.
Sebudubudu further complained of excessive powers of the judiciary over parliament.