I would like to pay homage to Botswana Peoples Party as the midwife of opposition politics in Botswana and the first party to align with Labour movement as in 1960s it aligned with Francistown African Employees Union. This is a party with a rich and landmark history which craved forever in the annals of history of the struggle politics of this country. As per aspirations of your theme, I suggest that in your rebranding exercise you need to focus on mobilisation and recruitment drive by setting up strong party structures countrywide and increase membership. The party needs to urgently come up with a number of engaging activities for members, make the party attractive and relevant in contemporary politics. Further you will have to put efforts on publicity and branding of the party so that it reaches out to the broader population. This will also assist in dissemination of the party’s central message and policy direction. The importance of education and struggle consciousness need to be inculcated with the party to enhance disciplined and progressive cadres of the party who are committed to the bigger picture of economic liberation and genuine independence for Batswana.
The party needs to identify critical societal issues to be tackled. These should be issues that are fundamentally of concern to members, and those issues such as rising unemployment, violation of human rights, land distribution crisis, fight against corruption, and strive for better education and improved health services, human centered development. To drive its policies and agenda, the BPP will need to work with groups such as workers, women, youth, farmers; be closer to the poor, and vigorously mobilise these groups. The party needs to assume the role of the vanguard for working class by pursuing and address workers issues. This is critical for the workers struggle of; fighting for creation of sustainable jobs with decency; Protecting, advancing and deepening trade union rights and workers’ rights; fight against corruption; and fight for social justice. On the question of Trade Unions and Politics it must dawn upon the Government that Trade Unions will be relentless and dedicated in playing their role in politics or political economy of the Country. It is up to the Government to find better ways of working with Trade Unions through tripartite social dialogue structures towards harmonious industrial democracy and peace.
There is need for unity among opposition parties. The agitation should be towards regime change and not merely just simple change of parliamentary majority and things remain the same as have been with the previous Government. It should be the focus of the new Government to focus on strengthening democratic institutions, restore integrity of the judiciary and bestow necessary power to parliament for a functional democracy, eliminate corruption, eliminate suffering of the human race, change complexion and pattern of the political economy. Opposition parties need to be cautious of infiltration by state agents. There is need for vibrant and participatory membership, strong, visionary and trustworthy leadership. In this journey of the struggle, it ought to be known that some leaders will on the way deviate from the mandate, and that the struggle will be fierce and challenging and therefore in need of dedicated men and women. Thank you very much, be united, grow in numbers and make resounding contribution in the UDC and work towards change of Government which is fundamentally urgent.
Part of the speech delivered by BOFEPUSU deputy secretary general Ketlhalefile Motshegwa as a guest speaker at Botswana Peoples Party congress on July 16, 2016 at Tati Siding