BCP in good shape – Pheko

Pheko maintained that the party’s recent primaries can be used as a yardstick for the next polls. PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG.
Pheko maintained that the party’s recent primaries can be used as a yardstick for the next polls. PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG.

FRANCISTOWN: University of Botswana (UB) political analyst Professor Zibani Maundeni is of the opinion that the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) should not read much into the recent primary elections’ attendance. Concerns have been rising about the BCP's future outside the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

On the contrary, the BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando and party operatives have often exuded confidence that their party is still a viable entity and will provide formidable alternative and bring political change for the country. The BCP first round of the primaries has been held in nine constituencies. The primaries solely target card carrying members of the party or those who qualified to take part in partisan politics. Sampling figures from the party primaries, some have submitted that the BCP has not been totally rattled by its detachment from the UDC. Most of the figures recorded at the primaries were close to half of the numbers the BCP achieved at the 2019 General Election under the UDC. For example, at the primaries in Okavango West, the party achieved a total of 2,928 votes. In Okavango East a total of 3,051 voted. The above figures to some extent highlight that the potency of the party in the Okavango area has not totally waned. The BCP, under the UDC, achieved 7,577 votes in 2019 in Okavango. That was before the Okavango constituency was divided into two areas, being Okavango East and West early this year following a delimitation exercise.

In Selebi-Phikwe West 1,061 people voted for Reuben Kaizer, while Professor Brothers Malema managed 520 votes from the recent BCP primaries. The figure is not far from the 3,998 that the party achieved at the 2019 General Election under the UDC. Considering that several people have also left the town since the last general elections owing to tough economic conditions, the proposition that can be drawn from the BCP primaries is that the party structures in the region are still reasonably solid. In Palapye, Gape Motswaledi attracted 1,364 against Ethel Gaampone’s 787. Statistics for 2018 leading to the 2019 General Election can also be used as a strong indicator that the BCP is still rationally stable in the constituency. In 2018 Obenetse Ramogapi beat Gaampone by 843 votes to 411. To sum up, some BCP members could not vote at the primaries because some polling stations opened late than expected. Others could not vote because of the new delimitations which have resulted in relocations to different wards and/or polling stations. Despite the inspiring figures, Maundeni postulated that primary elections are difficult to analyse, and their numbers could be deceiving. “The numbers can particularly be confusing because supporters of other parties do vote in primary elections of other parties. It is known that some Batswana have cards for three different parties and they vote in primary elections of all those parties. So, it's not easy to tell from primary elections as to who supports which party,” he said.

Editor's Comment
Bravo police for prompt action

It is also hurting that whilst we all know that the Botswana Police Service (BPS) is charged functionally with the duties to investigate all forms of crime, some locals have resorted to taking the law into their own hands. It is very wrong to do that. There is also a possibility that one may wrongfully take the life of a person in the process, unless it is a justifiable case of self-defence. Recently, in the city of Francistown, some locals found...

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