Botswana BCP thinks coalition


Gaborone – The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is willing to work with other opposition parties to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2019.

This follows a party leadership forum held recently to reflect on the outcome of the 2014 general elections.

BCP spokesperson, Taolo Lucas, told the media that one of the pertinent issues that the leadership forum discussed was the performance of the party in the 2014 general elections and whether the time was not right for the opposition party to join forces with the UDC.

He said the leadership resolved to engage the coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and other opposition formations on how to topple the ruling President Ian Khama’s party.

BCP has been accused of being the missing link in opposition co-operation and it was blamed for the failure by the opposition to wrestle power from the BDP.

The party lost four out of its seven seats in the just-ended elections, while the UDC, which is a formation of three opposition parties, increased its MPs from eight to 17 seats ‑ the largest number ever attained by an opposition party since independence.

The BDP for the first time failed to score above the 50 percent popular vote as it attained 37 seats.

Lucas said that his party will only engage the UDC and other opposition formations with a view to explore appropriate models of co-operation after it has completed its evaluation exercise.

“Upon completing our election evaluation exercise, we will engage UDC and other opposition formations with a view to exploring appropriate models of cooperation to unseat BDP. 

We must reiterate that our long-standing commitment to opposition co-operation, that saw BCP merging with other parties, remains unchanged,” said Lucas.

He, however, would not be drawn into discussing the model of co-operation they would prefer, saying the time was not right for such a discussion.

UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa, has previously indicated that the door will always be open for the BCP.

Political analyst, Spencer Mogapi, is of the view that the BCP is “in a precarious dilemma”.

“Moving too fast to join Umbrella for Democratic Change as called by some can produce a groundswell of dissent, which might prematurely precipitate an internal leadership contest within the BCP.

“But moving too slowly is also not an option as ordinary members may easily interpret that as reluctance on the part of leadership to join UDC,” stated Mogapi.

That alone, Mogapi observed, may result with the membership seizing the initiative by decamping to UDC as individuals.

“That may be somewhat tempting to the UDC, but the resultant chaos that will inevitably come about is not in anybody’s interest.

“As they never fail to remind all of us, the BCP was voted by 140 000 people. That on its own is a big deal. If not handled well, it could wreak political anarchy in the opposition ranks,” said Mogapi.

Based on BCP’s current state, it is almost a given that should such anarchy come to bear the ruling Botswana Democratic Party will like an opportunistic predator also be waiting on the wings to get a share of the spoils.

He added that “Of course, this is the hard reality of politics that has come with growth and we have always warned the BCP that it was only a matter of time before, like all political parties, they too would have to contend and grapple with it.”

Resolving these difficult questions will ultimately demand the long-term vision of a leader who is in it for the long haul, said Mogapi.

December 2014
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