Mmegi Online :: Commentators differ on BPP bargaining strength
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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Commentators differ on BPP bargaining strength

FRANCISTOWN: Political commentator Ndulamo Morima is of the view that the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) does not have the bargaining strength to be given more constituencies to contest at the 2019 general elections.
By Chakalisa Dube Fri 10 Feb 2017, 12:05 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Commentators differ on BPP bargaining strength








Morima also believes that giving the BPP more constituencies will be like assuring the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) of victory.  The BPP, which is part of the opposition coalition, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) was recently given four constituencies to contest at the 2019 general elections.

Other partners of the new look UDC are the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the Botswana National Front (BNF).

The BPP has been allocated Tati East, Tati West, Serowe South and Serowe North. The BNF got 22 constituencies, BCP 17 while the BMD will contest the elections in 14 constituencies.  However, it has emerged that the BPP is against the four constituencies it has been awarded and has demanded to be allocated eight. 

“The BPP got a fair deal based on what they were bringing to the table during coalition talks. They have not had a representative in Parliament in contemporary times and the party also has few councillors across the country. It will be difficult for other parties to listen to the BPP’s demands,” said Morima.

He further noted: “The BPP was also given the position of chairman within the UDC. For the BPP to get the position of chairman it was also bargain based on what they were bringing to the negotiation table.”

In addition, Morima noted that it might be a bad decision to allocate the BPP more constituencies across the country putting into perspective that the party does not have a notable following in most parts of the country. 

“If the BPP is to get eight constituencies the most likely chances based on their track record are that it will lose all if not most of them. This will then mean that the ruling BDP will have a strong chance of winning the 2019

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general elections,” said Morima yesterday.

Morima differs on the view that other UDC partners may give the BPP eight constituencies and support it (BPP).

“With that theory on the ground, this cannot be practical. I also believe other parties have strong candidates than the BPP in constituencies they (other UDC partners) have been allocated which may be difficult for them to be given more constituencies,” Morima said.

Morima also said although the parties are in a coalition, some voters might vote on account of their loyalty to their individual parties. However, Kebapetse Lotshwao, a political analyst and political science lecturer at the University of Botswana, offered a contrasting view.

Lotshwao told Mmegi that the BPP could still get eight constituencies.

“The other parties can still give the BPP eight constituencies and back them at the general elections. The BPP’s numerical disadvantage can be mitigated by numbers brought by other parties but it will depend on how the parties view things,” he said.

He warned that if the BPP is not offered eight constituencies, the development could bring instability within the UDC.

“Many coalition projects have collapsed because some partners felt they have been sidelined. They may be perceived to be weak, but the fact that they are part of the UDC means that they have something to offer. Their unhappiness may undermine the whole coalition project.” 

In a statement this week, BPP Youth League president, Takula Lenyatso noted that giving them four constituencies implies that the BPP has been pushed to the edge and has been cast as a non-significant component of the larger machine (UDC).

“We have moved to demand the central committee to secure at least eight constituencies in order for the deal to be considered inclusive and for the BPP to attain fair representation country wide,” he had said.

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