BDP can also be affected by vote splitting.

SHARE   |   Sunday, 20 July 2014   |   By Banks Ndebele
BDP supporters BDP supporters OMANG KILANO

Vote-splitting has been touted as an electoral evil in this country. But the application of the concept has not been expansively looked at to also consider its positives. Often times vote splitting is looked in the context of the opposition. But it should be accepted that the ruling party can also be affected by vote splitting.

If for example we believe that the formation of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) which is a breakaway from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has impacted greatly on the membership volumes of the later, we should equally accept that vote splitting would exist between BDP and BMD to the benefit and advantage of parties that have been battling with the BDP over the years, especially in marginal constituencies. This is one positive of vote splitting in as far as the desire to effect change is concerned.

Before the birth of the BCP, there were people who were not interested in either the BDP or the Botswana National Front (BNF), but they immediately embraced the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) when it was formed. This was largely becuase the BCP brought participative democracy which was acutely lacking in other old parties. People saw the BCP as a breath of fresh air, especially the youth, and the party earned its name,"the party for the future".

This could also be said about other entities that came after the birth of the BCP that those who started entities did not find interest in the already existing parties, and they opted to forming new ones. There is absolutely no guarantee that some BMD or BNF members would vote for the BCP where their parties have not fielded candidates. The same applies to BDP, BCP and any other party.

The other point is that, there are areas where there is a clear cut which party or parties are dominant, therefore one can never talk about vote splitting there. For example, in Okavango there are only two dominant parties, that is BCP and BDP, with BCP being the most strong. Could there be a vote splitting here? The answer is no. You take an area like Palapye, here too there two dominant parties being the BCP and the BDP. If the people of Palapye seriously want change in their area, they would look at the most immediate option and that option and indeed reasonable alternative would be the BCP. They would know that going for any other option that has the remotest chances of offering the change they require would be defeatist. There are many such areas that include Ramotswa; Mogoditshane; Phikwe East and West; Bobonong, Gaborone Central, Nata, Tswapong South and a host of other places.

If people in these places and many others not mentioned above want change, their immediate option that has the greatest chances of ushering such the desired change would be the BCP. Any other option would be a grave mistake as it would be an uphill challenge to achieve the desired goal. This calls for wisdom in voting, that is, where there is a clear cut, voters should apply logic in voting in order to achieve a desirable goal. With that, split vote should never arise as it will be inconsequential.