Kanye North Member of Parliament, Kentse Rammidi, has been officially admitted as a member of the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
On Wednesday morning, the BCP leadership mounted a glamorous press conference where Rammidi, a former Secretary General of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and also a former member of the Botswana National Front (BNF) was welcomed into the party.
Addressing members of the press, Rammidi said that the BCP remains the only credible opposition party to take over from what he termed the ageing BDP.
He said that the BNF is a party that offers nothing but confusion for the opposition parties in Botswana. Rammidi said that he hoped through the BCP to tackle the declining education standards, ‘unprecedented’ levels of unemployment as well as deal with the tension between government and the labour movement.
He said he had earlier joined the BNF because he hoped to enhance the chances of opposition cooperation. He thought by joining the BNF when he left the BDP he would mitigate possible tension between BCP and BNF.
“In my resolve to assist the opposition cooperation negotiations, I joined the party that was the most dominant in the constituency I represent; with the hope that such a move would reduce the potential for disagreements in the allocation of constituencies. I was painfully and consciously aware of the turbulent history of the BNF but needed to balance this with the interests of the bigger project being the Umbrella.”
He said in the best interest of the Umbrella he had hoped and thought that it would not matter as to which of the involved parties he was a member of because through the Umbrella and the resultant unity of purpose the parties were going to complement each other.
“To my disappointment and dismay, the negotiations collapsed,” said Rammidi.
He said the latest turn of events at the BNF, where Executive Committee members have either been sacked or suspended, has led him to the conclusion that BNF lacks the ambition to attain state power.
He said he is not worried about which constituency he stands for as, for him, his ambition is more national than just a constituency level.
He equated the BNF to the BDP on their levels of complacency and a lack of ambition.
“We will return this country to its glory days where merit and hard work rather than patronage attracted rewards, the days when you were confident that taking your kids to government school is not condemning them to the future of Ipelegeng work, but they still have a fair chance of competing with their contemporaries in private school, just like it used to be. This is my wish for the future of this country and this is a wish that I hope together with my comrades in the BCP we work hard to achieve,” said Rammidi.
“I know our opponents out there have teamed up with the BDP against the BCP,those who say they are in the opposition but fear change, master of rhetoric, those that will be quick to call me unprincipled politician but fail to do the simple thing that could instigate change, vote!,” he lashed out.
Also speaking was BCP leader, Dumelang Saleshando, who said that his party’s mission is not to destroy the BNF.
“Our aim from the day we formed the BCP has been to build a credible alternative to the BDP that Batswana can trust with state power,” said Saleshando.
He said the BCP target remains not the BNF but the Botswana Democratic Party.
He said that Rammidi’s defection was a result of his party’s recruitment drive. Saleshando said that his party has proved that it can manage itself and qualified to be entrusted with the greater responsibility of running the country.
“As we celebrate the fruits of our labour, we offer no apology to those who seek to claim that where we have attracted a new member from an opposition party we need not celebrate. Had a party of the BCP’s nature and character not been in existence, the opposition would have been bleeding and crumbling at the feet of the BDP as the sort of defections we are witnessing across the country would have been to their benefit,” stated Saleshando.