BCP could cash in on BMD split
By Aubrey Lute
The ongoing ramifications of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) split that saw its former leader Ndaba Gaolathe launch a new political party, Alliance for Progressives on Thursday could spell both good and bad news for the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) contracting partners, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana National Front (BNF).
Following the withdrawal of the Gaolathe led group from the BMD, the remaining group led by Sidney Pilane may scrap to the bottom to identify potential candidates to represent the UDC as parliamentary candidates in 2019. The BMD was allocated 14 constituencies during the UDC negotiations on account of incumbency. Inside sources at the Pilane led BMD indicate that the party is going back to the UDC on Tuesday to report back on the proposal as was tabled by the Duma Boko led NEC. They are going to suggest that they welcome all the recommendations as proposed by the UDC and wait for the feedback. Political observers and commentators are waiting to see how the UDC leadership handles the issue of the BMD after the decision by Ndaba Gaolathe to withdraw and form a new party.
The Pilane led BMD, according to insiders, is considering doing a lot of trade off through bilateral talks with the remaining members of the Umbrella. While the only conundrum lies in Gaborone North where Haskins Nkaigwa is said to be against the idea of defecting, there are “two obvious constituencies where it is likely that we will do tradeoffs. These are Gaborone Central, Gaborone Bonninton South and Mogoditshane,” said a BMD insider.
The UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko made it clear at the announcement of the verdict that during the negotiations, the only persistent and troubling source of disagreement was the allocation of constituencies. He said it was on account of allocation of constituencies that the UDC failed to have the BCP on board in 2014 as part of the project. “To rehearse these experiences is not to construct a prism to justify sentimental stories of achievement or melodramatic fables of success. It is also to accept our responsibility. It is also to accept that we need serious, sustained and deeply probing examination of ourselves…” he said.
The UDC leader emphasized that the issue of allocation of constituencies could only be opened where contracting partners among themselves want to trade off in a give and take spirit. He said parties are allowed to engage each other bilaterally where discussion on constituencies is concerned, but he stated that the matter is a closed case.
The BCP is in the process of identifying a constituency for its leader, Saleshando and it is understood that there is a possibly that the two parties, BMD and BCP could discuss the possibility of passing the constituency to latter. Saleshando lost the constituency to Phenyo Butale of the original BMD in the 2014 general election. The BCP through Tumiso Rakgare narrowly lost to Sedirwa Kgoroba of the original BMD and there is a chance that the BMD led by Pilane could give away Mogoditshane as well on account of which part has a strong candidate and better numbers.
Meanwhile the BNF could cash in on the Gabane-Mankgodi and Francistown constituencies which are currently under Pius Mokgware and Wynter Mmolotsi respectively. “We want to trade off these constituencies to demonstrate our genuine hearts to opposition unity,” said a BMD Pilane source. BMD Pilane wields bargaining power because of the constituencies it has in its possession. This publication learns that there are going to be more discussions around the constituency allocation issue as soon as the BMD of Pilane is formally accepted back to the table. Other observers opine that these position of the BMD of Pilane is only tenable in the event the Alliance for Progressives does not show interest in the BMD at all.
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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP
As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.
Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.
Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.
He made a special appeal to the PAP: “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”
Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”
According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.
As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.
The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.
Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.
Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.
He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.
“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.