Botswana’s newest political party, the Alliance for Progressives – is due to be officially launched next weekend in Gaborone in an event which is anticipated to attract multitudes of its supporters and well-wishers from across the country. The party’s interim chairperson Pius Mokgware says they have hit the ground running. “We are launching the party brand on Monday and will subsequently hold our inaugural convention on the 28TH of October at Baisago College Hall in Gaborone,” he said. Reiterating AP leader Ndaba Gaolatlhe who following the formation of the party was quoted insisting that the party has brought positive feedback particularly among its members, Mokgware said they continue to register members in high numbers all over Botswana. “What you should appreciate is that all former BMD members who were with us in Bobonong have since joined AP except for maybe one or two, all party structures from various regions are also with us,” he said. According to Mokgware, the party has representation nationwide and they continue to register new more members in numbers. “We continue to register members in all Gaborone constituencies, in the northern region and interestingly even in the central region,” he said. He dismissed suggestions that their membership is likely to dwindle with time when the euphoria and excitement surrounding the party finally fades. According to the Gabane Mmankgodi legislator, theirs is a well vested party, which not only boasts of an already existing membership but command a following from members who are focused and know what they want. “Whoever even begins to think we will lose a following and members are not serious. Our members are people who have clear cut objectives and know what they want, are professionals and smart,” he said.
AP will launch its brand, including its logo, party colours, primary colours and secondary colours on the 23rd of October and according to Mokgware, they will continue to register members and/or even issue membership cards. After announcing their voluntary breakaway from the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), the AP leadership also announced that they plan to host a series of events in the lead up to the convention, including weekly press conferences to update the public on progress including by key stakeholders to endorse, support or join the formation and open a new office. Mokgware been said an office secured and will soon be fully operational. The party had also planned to coordinate a series of behind the scenes work to finalise its Constitution, policies and other key documents and also to receive interest from people who want to avail themselves for public and non-public roles in the advancement of the party.
Although prior to its formation some critics dismissed its relevance even writing its obituary before the ink had dried on its draft papers, AP is proving to be a force to reckon with. The unexpected reality however is that, the party’s unceremonious departure from the UDC may have a negative impact on the UDC itself. Reports indicate that the core of UDC’s foundation including BOFEPUSU, a host of former public servants and ruling party politicians, key legal advisors and other stakeholders have decamped to the newly formed political outfit. Some argue that within the UDC, the BNF especially is likely to be the biggest loser, as some of its members have since started to openly question and criticise the party leadership, especially the party president Duma Boko while some have since left the party altogether. Former Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) president Khumoekae Richard left the party recently and joined the AP after openly criticising Boko’s leadership style and even going to the extent of calling him a dictator. Richard is suspected to have decamped with a number of BNF members who shared his sentiments. Meanwhile, the AP is according to Mokgware committed to a united and joint opposition and is willing to engage the UDC on the issue but says they have to first organise themselves as a party by ensuring that they have all structures in place to ensure their efficient operations. “We have to get our party in order and running first,” he said.