Naturally the Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) recent announcement that they intend to throw weight behind the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the looming Boswelatlou ward by-elections in Lobatse should have been a call for celebration for both parties, but that is not the case. Some take this to point to crisis in the BCP. The party has been rocked by resignations.
However, BCP spokesperson Dithapelo Keorapetse on Friday denied any crisis in the party and said the BCP will forge ahead with unity negotiations with the UDC.
Though Keorapetse said they welcomed the resignations with an open heart and wished all concerned well in their future endeavours, he however noted that they as a party cannot glorify their departures. “We would not want to glorify their departure because we have a programme of action as a party,” he said.
Following the party’s national congress in Kanye, where the party President Dumelang Saleshando announced that it was now time the party took heed of the wider populace’s call for opposition parties to unite, some BCP members mostly firebrands opposed the move.
After an audio leak of secret meetings between some BCP members with top ruling party officials prior to Goodhope/Mabule by-elections, the BCP suspended those implicated. These included former BCP youth league president Lotty Seikise Manyapetsa, Thato Osupile, Virginia Masole and Oganne Mazwigwila from the party pending investigation of breach of party discipline. The said had allegedly been funded by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top officials to recruit party members to defect from the party and cause internal instability.
Osupile shortly announced his resignation from the party. His resignation was accompanied by that of the party’s candidate in the 2014 general elections for Nata/Gweta constituency Dr Ditiro Majadibodu. Although long time party defender and firebrand politician Lotty Manyepedza had stayed behind he also announced his resignation from the party this week and speculations are rife that he is also headed to the ruling party.
“We can confirm the resignations of the five members: Lotty Seikise Manyapedza, Virginia Masole, Kemiso Tom, Gaborutwe Thekiso and Chabaesele Kasemang from the party,” Keorapetse said this week.
Although BCP seems to be ignoring these incidents, the party it would seem, continues to lose even more ordinary members.
In a press statement issued recently to confirm the party’s decision not to contest Boswelatlou ward in Lobatse, Keorapetse said: “this cooperation in Boswelatlou is a culmination of both parties’ attempts to forge relations that would usher in an amicable working relationship between the BCP and the UDC,” He said they hope that this is a step in the right direction as both parties are currently working on a Memorandum of Understanding for by-elections across the country; a big step for the envisaged opposition cooperation leading up to 2019 elections.
“The BCP believes that opposition parties enemy is one, the BDP, therefore we ought to do as much as we can to retain seats held by opposition, and wrestle those in the BDP in future by elections. We are 100% committed to this decision and wish to emphasize that the BCP will pull its resources together to help the UDC retain Boswelatlou ward,” the press statement read.