Former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Gilson Saleshando was in his element on Sunday as he lambasted the Bayei for voting the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) back into power despite the many unresolved issues between the ethnic group and the government.
For a long time now, Bayei have through their sub-cultural association, Kamanakao, been embroiled in a vicious battle trying to convince the government to recognize them as a tribe so that they may be independent from Batawana.
But todate, their request has not been heeded and their fate still remains uncertain as it seems there are no plans to amend the Constitution in the near future.
Saleshando said at a political rally in Maun that it came as a surprise to learn that while government has made it clear that it is not in a position to pursue their interests, there are still some people amongst them who still have confidence in the same government.
“We still lack good representation here. Mind you, we don’t even benefit a thing from the natural resources in our region, and our rights have always been violated. And so it still does not make any sense to me that you went all out to show support for the BDP. You need to help change the political landscape of the entire region,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Goretetse Kekgonegile who was Maun East Parliamentary candidate in the last general elections. He noted that the BDP is the root cause of their problems at BCP adding that the situation is even made worse by those who still vote for it.
He said BDP members only act on instructions from the high office.
He gave as an example, good motions submitted by BCP councilors at the North West District Council, which are always rejected because the ruling party is the majority.
“They caucus against the motions even when they know they are of great value. This is too bad and needs to be discouraged. As for the alleged unity talks with UDC, I don’t see it bearing fruit anytime soon. What we have agreed as a party is to engage in cooperation talks, so you need not confuse the two,” said Kekgonegile.
“It is worth noting also that just like the UDC, the BCP is made up of individual parties such as the BAM and NDF. On the other hand UDC has BNF and BMD, and so if they think we are going to go on our knees and beg for membership, I would suggest they think again. We might reconsider it in the future, but not now”, said Kekgonegile amid ululations of support from the crowd.
Kekgonegile went on to say the UDC still has too much in their hands that needs to be resolved. He stated that they should first and foremost be transparent with the Motswaledi report among other things, lest they drag them into issues which are of no concern to them.
“You clean your mess first before inviting people into your house, and we want the UDC to do exactly that. We don’t want to see ourselves trapped. With everything set and in place, we might start talking seriously”, he added.
For his part, BCP President Dumelang Saleshando urged followers to start taking politics seriously.
“We still believe in the decisions we make and so we might as well decide to merge at a later stage based on the outcome of the cooperation talks.”
“We want Batswana to be included in decision making with regard to the already ailing economy. So we still challenge the UDC to show cause why they think we should join them. We want them also, to give us ample time to make our own decisions and conclusions.”
Saleshando also noted that he had been criticized for wanting a “fair deal”. He stated that people mistake a fair deal with wanting positions of power, which is not the case with him. Going forward, he said he was hopeful that the cooperation talks will succeed adding that should there be a deadlock a possibility of a consensus might be prolonged.