Hordes of the newly formed political formation, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) supporters and well-wishers thronged Francistown over the weekend, donning their black and yellow regalia to attend their party’s manifesto launch held at the Old Stadium.
BPF Publicity and Information Secretary, Justice Motlhabani told The Patriot on Sunday ahead of the launch that most of their die hard supporters are rural dwellers because Khama has a huge following in rural areas compared to townships. ”BPF is a political formation that has a huge rural base because wherever Khama goes, the masses follow him,” Motlhabani pointed out.
He explained that their manifesto will be people centred. “Our manifesto will try by all means to address the bread and butter issues as we strongly belief that our party is ready to oust the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which has been in power for 53 years,” the confident and eloquent Motlhabani divulged. BPF is a political party with visionary leadership who want to take this country to greater heights and that is why we have come up with a manifesto that is issue based, Motlhabani said. He dismissed notions going around that the party was formed by bitter individuals who want to assist Khama in his bitter personal battle with his successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi. When giving the glimpse of their manifesto, Motlhabani stated that the document includes pertinent issues such as the overhauling of the country’s constitution. He argues that the reviewing of the constitution is long overdue as most of Batswana belief that the constitution is out dated and gives too much power to the siting president.
The Publicity Secretary went on to say that as the BPF, they also advocate for the independence of oversight institutions such as the corruption bursting urgency, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC). Motlhabani observed that currently, the DCEC is not autonomous as it is under the Office of the President and therefore cannot investigate the sitting president if he is embroiled in graft scandals. “Even the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) need to be an independent entity to ensure that they execute their mandate exceptionally well without the influence of the president,” he further held.
Motlhabani posits that if BPF attains power at the October 23 general elections, people will start to receive old age pension at the age of 60 instead of 65. He continued: “We are also going to ensure that women are empowered so that they can also run successful business entities and live decent lives.”
According to Motlhabani, BPF has already secured parliamentary candidates in 18 constituencies and he expressed optimism that they will field more candidates in other constituencies as many members are expected to join the party from other political formations soon. “There will be a lot of surprises at our manifesto launch, we will be welcoming new members into our fold. I urge people to come in large numbers to witness the surprises we have in store for them,” he asserted.
He declared that the party has written a formal communiqué to the main opposition, Umbrella for Democratic Change for the two political formations to form an alliance ahead of the much anticipated national elections. Motlhabani admitted that currently negotiations between the two parties are moving at a snail pace but they will be completed before the elections. He promised that once the negotiations are complete, the two organizations will release a statement to that effect. The bromance between BPF and UDC have been on-going for a while BPF patron, Khama on numerous political gatherings, has reiterated that where his party does not field a candidate, they will support the UDC in an effort to oust BDP. Khama has even endorsed some UDC candidates such as Dr Kesetegile Gobotswang in Sefhare-Ramokgonami and Sam Digwa in Boteti West. The former head of state has even come up with a hit list of BDP parliamentary hopefuls that he will be de-campaigning among them being vice president, Slumber Tsogwane and Dorcus Makgatho.