Following the first Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) ‘mother of rallies’ recently held in Molepolole, BCP Leader Dumelang Saleshando has revealed that plans are afoot to address their combined membership in the Ngamiland region.
Shaleshando confirmed to this publication that as the negotiations between the two parties continue ahead of the 2024 general, they eye December as the most opportune time to address their members in the four constituencies of Maun West and East, Ngami and Okavango.
The BCP/AP axis has prompted mixed reactions especially following the pullout of BCP from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), which ushered in all the 4 members of parliament in the 2019 elections. Some have hailed the move by BCP as the tight recipe for power change while some view it as a betrayal of the struggle.
For the 2019 AP parliamentary candidate for Okavango constituency, who has since traded his purple for the lime revolution, Kabelo Mahupe, the BCP/AP coalition is the right combination Batswana needed to dislodge the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from power come 2024 general elections.
“Both of the leaders of the coalition are economists so they complement each other very well and that alone will bring the necessary change for the sustainability of political peace and stability in this country,” he said in an interview.
Mahupe said the four constituencies in Ngamiland are the strong holds of BCP therefore he believes that the two parties stand a good chance to win them all in the upcoming general elections.
Mahupe further highlighted that the BCP has also been doing well in Ngami Constituency indicating that in 2009 and 2014, the party won the respective elections as a standalone party. He said Ngami has more BCP/BAM members than that of BNF and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP).
“In 2009, BCP had margin of 6342 between them and BNF while in 2014 BCP had 7015 votes compared to 802 votes for UDC which comprised of BPP and BNF together,” he added.
Meanwhile local activist, Sekwaya Pikinini believes that it will be hard for the BCP/AP coalition to make it at the 2024 general elections because of the time factor. He said time is not on their side adding that most Batswana do not trust opposition parties therefore BDP remains the only party pipped to win the general elections again.
Pikinini said for the BCP/AP coalition to believe they will win the four constituencies in Ngamiland is misplaced, because the two opposition leaders are not principled as they have lost their focus from the 2019 elections.
“In Okavango they will not be able to win because of the incident concerning Kenny Kapinga who was expelled and welcomed back again into the party. That alone has killed the trust members had for party’s leadership. Fence sitters are a deciding factor as the can sympathize with the BDP come 2024,” he said.
Pikinini who hails from Okavango further emphasized that the BDP will not only win the Okavango constituency but the other three constituencies as well adding that the opposition parties have a long way to convince Batswana to trust them again.
“BCP/AP will have to come up with a long term strategy which will however take them 10 to 15 years for them to be able to challenge BDP for the State power otherwise they will be singing a song that will not end,” he concluded.