SHARE   |   Monday, 04 December 2017   |   By Shingirai Madondo

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is reportedly feeling it has been pushed too far by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and will soon be forced to use any available means necessary to protect its territory.Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi has since becoming BDP chairman turned the BCP into his easy hunting ground and the party can no longer stand the continuing loss quality personnel. First to be snapped up were former BCP Youth League president Lotty Manyapedza alongside his then Secretary General Thato Osupile and the parliamentary candidate for Nata/Gweta constituency in 2014, Ditiro Majadibodu. The BDP‘s biggest catch was when they won over the Okavango MP Bagalatia Arone from the BCP in 2016. But indications are that the BDP is far from being done with attempting to collapse the BCP. According to informed sources, the BDP is making frantic efforts to recruit a number of influential members. They are reportedly chasing Tumelo Oduetse who participated in the last general elections under the BCP ticket and marginally lost to ruling party’s Baboni Mosalagae in the race for Monarch South ward. “It is true that the BDP approached me with a view of persuading me to dump the BCP and an offer was made,” confirmed Oduetse. He could not deny or confirm that the BDP recruiters offered him cash or funding from one of many government agencies.    

Suggestions are that the BDP activists are using some government funded agencies’ services to lure opposition cadres into their fold. It has been claimed that agencies like the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) are manipulated for political ends. Earlier this year an audio clip illustrating the ruling party’s recruitment drive circulated in social media after it was leaked by one of the BDP’s intended catch in Francistown. In the recorded clip, BDP activists insist to an unsuspecting opposition member to come up with a business idea so that they will be “easily” funded by organisations in the clutches of government. Besides offering assurances of a business proposal being funded without a hassle, there is a strong feeling amongst the opposition cadres that the BDP dangles a huge carrot in monetary terms to their targets. Upon learning about BDP’s intentions, it is said the BCP stepped in and countered the offer made by the ruling party. According to informed sources within the BCP, the party allegedly promised Oduetse P20, 000 cash. “We do not have a choice. We have to match BDP pound to pound in every aspect of the recruitment spins that the ruling party is employing ahead of the 2019 general election,” said a BCP source.

Oduetse admitted that the BCP members stepped in to stop his potential departure upon learning that the BDP was after him. “BDP was singing praises about me and made promises. And the ruling party’s intentions reached the BCP hence the stepping in,” he said. He added: “BCP is fully aware of my personal political capabilities in growing and defending the party at all cost. The BCP could not afford losing me but it will be improper for me to give the details.” BCP Francistown regional chairperson Dingalo Ditsheko confirmed that the BDP tried in vain to recruit Oduetse “despite making offers and promises” to him. Also, Ditsheko could not be drawn into discussing whether the BCP offered him money. BDP Francistown regional chairperson Baemedi Medupi admitted that the BDP, like any other political party, approaches opposition members.