FROM BCP TO BPP
The Botswana Congress Party has inadvertently donated Moselewapula ward to the Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP).
Ironically, the two sworn enemies have fought numerous battles over wards and constituencies, particularly in Francistown and surrounding areas. The BPP has been without a representative in the
Francistown City Council (FCC) since 2009 when the last man standing, Motlatsi Molapisi, lost the Boikhutso ward to a BCP candidate.
Following the controversial suspension of the BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando and the party secretary general, Goretetse Kekgonegile from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), the BCP decided to contest outside the coalition.
The UDC had allocated Moselewapula ward to the BCP on account of the fact that the late Reuben Kethoilwe, whose death early this year led to the by-election, was a BCP councillor.
It is not clear whether the decision by the BCP, which party once called itself mogobagoba (heavy duty truck) on account of its fast growth, was driven by a misplaced sense of invincibility, genuine miscalculation or a vote of no confidence by the party on the controversy-prone UDC leadership.
The winner, Gift Tebo of the BPP of the UDC, got 339 votes with Mmoloki Wairi of the BCP and Ngwisiwa Ntogwa of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) bagging 334 and 110 votes in that order.
Whatever the reason for the surprise loss albeit by only five votes, which margin some cynics joke is somehow related to the five (5) expelled MPs, the Moselewapula results must compel the BCP to make a serious introspection on what might have gone wrong.
In an interview with this publication, the BCP publicity secretary, Mpho Pheko, said that her party has got no regrets about the decision to stand alone in the by-election.
“The choice for the opposition right now is the removal of the moribund and autocratic Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and replace it with the UDC which is a gangsters' paradise.
Botswana and Batswana deserve better. As BCP, we demand good governance, transparency and accountability which ideals are not in evidence in the UDC right now.
“We want to make it crystal clear that, the BCP will not relent in our demand for the democratisation of the UDC.
What we are seeing now where the UDC leadership receives donations from shady individuals here and abroad, for example, is a harbinger to state capture should the UDC assume power,” Pheko said.
In her view, “Batswana will eventually understand the BCP case.
Above all, I congratulate the BCP candidate, Mmoloki Wairi for associating with the party ideals and agreeing to contest under the BCP ticket,” said Pheko who is happy that the Alliance for Progressives (AP), touted by the BCP as a like-minded and progressive organisation, partnered with the BCP at Moselewapula.
For his part, Ignatius Moswaane, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West which hosts the Moselewapula ward, is of the view that the BCP lost the ward elections because the party undermined the BPP.
“The BPP is more organised now than ever. During our campaign rounds, we told the people the truth about the tumultuous relationship between the UDC and BCP. It was a strong message. What we also discovered was the enormous goodwill for the BPP among the residents of Moselewapula.
“The people sang BPP praises and reminisced on the contribution it made in the attainment of our independence as well as the development of Francistown. Younger people in the gold-coloured t/shirts joined the elders in elevating the BPP as the vanguard of the country’s independence,” Moswaane said.
According to the BPP president, Motlatsi Molapisi, the loss of the BCP to his party is an indication that the voters want nothing less than opposition cooperation.
“The people want a change of government.
Their belief is that any party that has got no regard for cooperation should be punished. Going forward, it is going to be difficult for a stand-alone party to win any election. This is a message to the opposition party leaders and should be heeded”, Molapisi said.
He does not believe that the differences among the opposition parties are intractable since they are not ideological. His fear though is that the recent event such as the expulsions of the five (5) BCP MPs by their party following the suspension and subsequent expulsions of the two party leaders will “certainly complicate our relationship and hence complicate our efforts to reconcile.
“However, if we focus on the bigger picture which is to liberate our people from the BDP, we will prevail over any obstacle. The opposition should be ready to involve consultants to help us find each other,” said the UDC chairman who is against the formation of parallel coalitions.