Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane has acknowledged the threat posed by the nascent opposition parties’ coalition.
Late last week, the country’s major opposition parties concluded an agreement to include the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) into the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) alliance. Negotiations finally included BCP, one of the three major opposition parties in the country into the UDC fold after the initial merger fumbled prior to the 2014 general elections.
Ntuane told the press this week that BDP is closely monitoring the developments and that it will be foolhardy of them to close their eyes to events, lest they find themselves hapless on the broadside. He further stated that the BDP is in dialogue over UDC’s final consolidation. “The fact of the matter is that as a political party you introspect in times like these to avoid being caught on the wrong side,” Ntuane stated.
He further continued: “We are observing this situation and we are talking as a party, we touch on these issues to determine what we do when things change shape.” He also hinted that BDP top brass addressed the UDC amalgamation in a recent party meeting. “We talk about them to determine how we continue to win elections? We talk about them so as to determine how we are to retain power in 2019?”
“So, I can’t reveal how we are going to deal with them because when you prepare for a rival who is preparing for you too, you cannot have the liberty to reveal your plans,” he intoned: “But it is something that we are aware is happening.” He also stated that, in the same breadth, BDP is aware of internal wrangling inside the coalition project.
“Like we always say, Botswana is a small country, some of us are relatives and some are friends while some share households but subscribing to different parties, people talk about these things. There is no such thing as a secret in Botswana and we are aware that there is trouble in paradise,” Ntuane alleged.
Ntuane further reiterated that his party is acclimatising to new changes in the country’s political landscape: “We are preparing and in due course party members concerned will be made aware how we are going to deal with the coming elections, if the new opposition project is to survive, since it has its own problems.”
He further summed up BDP resolve to retain state power: “A party exists for one thing; to rule, and even though opposition parties have lost since (19)65 and did not die away, they have existed with the hope that someday they will rule.” He further observed: “A ruling party exists to rule forever, so if it becomes apparent to you that competitors are reorganising, you also prepare with twice the strength.”
The amalgamation of UDC, unveiled the past Friday, means that Botswana’s opposition parties will battle in a united front to unseat the ruling party in the coming 2019 general elections. However, as far back as mid 2016, a prominent UDC insider had told this publication that the junior partner, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) had made demands for more constituencies. The new entrant, BCP has been allocated 17 seats while the BNF got 22, BMD 14 and BPP 5.
The parties will still trade under the unitary moniker ‘UDC’ and will contest all the upcoming elections as one symbol, adopting the royal blue colour as their identity. These movements of the left will retain the Social Democratic Program as their clarion call. As the UDC president, Boko shall head the National Executive Committee (NEC) flanked by two Vice Presidents; one from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the other from Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
Currently BMD is lead by Ndaba Gaolathe and BCP is under the leadership of Dumelang Saleshando. The two are Boko’s VPs at UDC level. The combined opposition popular vote, casted in the last 2014 general elections stands at 53.55% while BDP has a share of 46.45%. Botswana is governed through majority rule of First Past the Post electoral system.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.