BCP to join or not to join UDC

SHARE   |   Monday, 01 February 2016   |   By Oitsile Marcus Bafitile
BCP to join or not to join UDC

A case of Dr Nasha

The joining of the Botswana Movement for Democracy by Dr. Margaret Nasha opens a painful but important chapter in the political debate of whether or not the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) should be joining the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). This is a chapter that within all the chapters of a debate that we have, we conveniently opted to skip on numerous occasions. We have been jumping over rather to easier chapters like a student in an examination room attempting first questions that he is familiar with content. We are back to the door of our future as embedded in our need to debate. Not only did Dr Nasha join the UDC, she specifically joined the BMD which is a splinter party of the ruling BDP. The BMD was founded and is led by former senior figures of the ruling party and these are echoes of truth that should not be shunned when debating our intention of joining the UDC. We have raised these questions in the corridors and in our little dark corners.

An opportunity such as this that has availed itself must be utilised by we the members of the BCP without reservations and without any shyness or fear. The question as to why Dr Nasha did not join the BNF or the BPP must be of significance in our quest to entangle the question of whether to join or not to join the UDC. We must pose serious questions that will help us realise if we are or we are not by joining the UDC simply joining the BDP that we so much detest. We have a choice to join the UDC because it is seemingly fashionable to do and we also have a choice to join the UDC because it is the politically reasonable thing to do. But how we exercise such a choice or choices should be determined by arising opportunity such as this. We must also not shy away from judging characters of those defecting from the ruling BDP to join the opposition and in doing that, we must be consciously guided by the words of Chairman Mao Tse Tung when he said that “We must know how to judge cadres.

We must not confine our judgment to a short period or a single incident in a cadre's life, but should consider his life and work as a whole. This is the principal method of judging cadres.” This is very significant as it raises the question of the character of people we want to get involved with in our quest from freeing Batswana from the BDP. These people that we are looking at getting involved with are the same people we have been a laughing batch since 1998 when we founded the mighty Botswana Congress Party which continues to grow its popular vote astonishingly yet they deny that as they seek to relegate us to ‘a party with only three members of parliament’. We have as a party rather repeated our call that first we Batswana need to understand this reality that; what is the challenge facing middle class and the young people today?

We then need to after that look at a party policy that advocates for changes in that regard. And such a party policy is of the BCP and not the UDC. But sadly the affected have been able to look rather for fashion and not the future and the fashion is UDC.  The future under the UDC shall be bleak as there shall be no more half-truths to sell and only leaders facing angry supporters when buses are not turning up for rallies full etc. We have toiled in our quest to free Botswana from both the BMD when it was still a faction of the BDP. And we have toiled to do the same in the past elections when we toiled to free Botswana from the half-truths that were told by the UDC about the death of their leader. I am saying this with outmost respect to the dead.

I wish there was a better way. Yes, there are some who are unappreciative to what the BCP has done for them and yes, sometimes we get a little smiley when we meet one of them praising and appreciating what we the BCP have done for them. But the majority of them don’t want the BCP to join UDC for any other reason except for the simple fact they see us as their bridge to attaining a popular vote. We have been blamed for the split vote in the past elections that is said to have cost the UDC to dethrone the BDP of state power. No scientific evidence has been afforded us to appreciate our faults. We rather maintain that we lost as the BCP because we were presented not by the ruling BDP but by the UDC as friends of the ruling party and as agents of the regime. No one has come to apologise for such misleading of voters which led to us not only losing votes but went to an extent of unleashing irreparable damage to our dignity and reputation as a party.

It is important to note that contrary to popular belief, the BDP has an extra nine seats which are held by its faction Barataphathi trading as the BMD.  It is also arguable that they also have an extra seat held by Isaac Davids whom by conduct remains BMD and hence BDP. We are expected not to discuss these matters and when we do so that we understand what exactly the UDC is; we are perceived to be anti-opposition cooperation. We have as the BCP maintained over time that we are in support of opposition cooperation but that it must be done honestly and in open debate without suppressing differing view. Part of differing views is that the BCP should not be comfortable with the arrival of Dr Nasha who immediately upon arrival at the BMD takes over a senior position not at the BMD but at the UDC.

This assumption of a senior role by the newly arrived Dr Nasha should in all fairness  and openness signal an element of crisis or an undermining to the crop that is there ready to follow, learn and lead, either long serving cadres or the movement as a whole. I appeal to the BCP cadres that this is an opportunity to open that chapter in our debate that we have been skipping over and over hoping it will go away. We must at this point arrest our greed and selfish interest of filling our positions with credentials or climbing up the ladder for financial gain. Let there be no money that should decide our future in this journey of a nation at cross roads. Our society is going through a period when it has to mature as a democracy and rid itself of "slavery" and we are a party best suited to do just as that.

Within the BCP, our fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, big brothers and sisters must give us some space to breathe and carry our business. Our work must speak for us, we must stop preaching to the converted and go to no go areas through action not preaching, rhetoric is out of fashion. We all know that beyond the shouting of rhetoric and excitement of the UDC that is led by a faction of the BDP hell bent on settling old scores, there is nothing ahead. We should refuse to behave like our cadres from the BNF who have allowed their thinking to be privatised by the BDP through its subsidiary the BMD and a holding company in the name of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

BNF members are told what to say, who to vote for and not given reasons why. There is no longer level of independent thinking and robust engagement to collectively arrive at a decision as showed by imposing of Dr Nasha. Comrades, if we want to avoid your thinking to be privatised we should be persistent and belief in ourselves. We should have confidence and be determined to succeed. There are real benefits of our thinking not to be privatised by political vultures. The biggest benefit is that our achievements no matter how small or big they can be, are in anyway not linked to political masters who control our thinking. Being free from political privatisers enables us to become more discerning about the things we hear, see and believe and helps us question values and assumptions. Comrades, this is an opportunity and I call upon this debate to determine truly where we stand as Botswana Congress Party.

Oitsile Marcus Bafitile
BCP Selebi Phikwe West Branch
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