FRANCISTOWN: Analysts believe the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) should move swiftly to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) before it becomes isolated from politics or go into oblivion.
The results of the weekend by-elections in Goodhope/Mabule constituency and recent internal squabbles that rocked the BCP have rekindled calls for the opposition party to join the UDC quickly. Analysts believe that the results of the weekend by-election did not only embarrass the BCP but also seemed to suggest that the party’s appeal as a political entity is waning. The BCP registered 385 votes against the BDP’s 4, 372 votes and UDC’s 6, 152. Even UDC president Duma Boko and BCP spokesperson, Dithapelo Keorapetse publicly stated this week that it is high time both parties join hands to topple the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
“The BCP should accept that it made an error by not joining the UDC before the 2014 general elections and should now expedite the process of joining the umbrella,” said Anthony Morima, a Gaborone-based political analyst.
Morima said that there are many implications that the BCP may experience if it does not join the UDC on time. “It may not be strategic for the BCP not to join the UDC now because the party is continuously losing its bargaining strength,” Morima said. “If they go now they can salvage what they can salvage during talks.”
Morima also says that the BCP has been expressing instability and can rebuild itself by joining the UDC. Although the BCP appears weaker, Morima said that the party could boost the UDC administration and branding capabilities.
“If it was in the past I would say that if the BCP joins the umbrella coalition it will bring much stability but that trait is no more at the BCP considering the dynamics.”
Leonard Sesa, a political scientist at the University of Botswana agrees with Morima.
“Prior to the last year’s general elections, the UDC wanted the BCP the most,” he said. “Now, it is vice-versa. Voters have shown that the umbrella is a viable project.” Sesa however believes that the BCP should clear its internal conflicts before joining the umbrella.
“I foresee prominent and powerful figures who are pro the umbrella like BCP secretary general Kentse Rammidi leaving the BCP if it does not move swiftly to join the coalition,” he said.
Leading to the 2014 general elections, the BCP may have had a case not to join the UDC. By then it was touted as the fastest growing party in the country, which enjoyed relative stability compared to others. The BCP of today does not have enough resources as evidenced by their poor showing in Goodhope/Mabule. Subscriptions that made it easy for the party to run its affairs effectively have gone down. Some offices have even closed as a result of lack of money.
This is mainly because the number of councillors and Members of Parliament who were major subscribers has gone down after they lost heavily in the 2014 general elections.
Political analysts argue that lack of resources should propel the party should join the UDC, as this would help united opposition parties to mobilise resources as a unit and compete against the ruling party effectively.
The BCP has often been taunted, as a stable party but of recent Mogobagoba as the party is affectionately known has proved vulnerable. The recent defections of the party diehards such as Ditiro Majadibodu, Nata/Gweta parliamentary hopeful also show that the BCP is no longer intact as it used to be. Joining the UDC may help the BCP restore its pride and rebuild itself according to pundits.