Different political analysts believe that the failure of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership to deliver on its 2019 General Election promises to Batswana is now causing visible divisions within the party.
The party has also been facing backlash from the public who believe it is failing to deliver on its promises. Of recent, the ruling party councillors have raised concern about the BDP’s priorities noting that government should have prioritised buying COVID-19 vaccines rather than splashing P58 million on buying the Tautona Lodge. They said members of the public are currently dying in large numbers due to the pandemic, which should be given priority. As of August 16, the country had recorded 2,261 deaths due to COVID-19.
Commenting on the issue, a political analyst Keaoleboga Dipogiso said the ruling party has a history of failing to give decent livelihoods to Batswana. “Firstly, I think the party is under pressure to deliver its set of 2019 promises. All these promises are a common cause to everyone, but at the centre of them was to quell corrupt practices within government," Dipogiso said this week. “Secondly, I have noted that the BDP has a history of failing to render decent livelihoods to Batswana, mostly because of its inclination towards private enterprise and neoliberalism. This has caused historic inequalities that continue to torment the party.
The less privileged members of society are wailing in economic hardship, including those whose sectors have been placed under some moratorium of some sort. Similarly, there is a growing cleavage amongst the elite over several practices of government,” Dipogiso told Mmegi. He said under COVID-19, where the global economy is waning, the country is not spared and livelihoods and households are dogged by insurmountable problems.
The political analyst said there is widespread frustration over the sluggish vaccine roll-out adding that there is a lot of controversy hovering over the vaccines, procurement and deficient oxygen at health care centres. Furthermore, he said, one may say the BDP is a faction-prone party. “Despite its waning electoral popularity, it has emerged triumphant in the face of factionalism. In fact, history has shown that the BDP has been a party rooted across all regions of the country, with a strong base within rural areas.
This may explain why factionalism hasn't finished it off because the rural folk may not be fully abreast with the goings-on of government and internal party strife.” He added that the BDP owes its perennial survival to the disorganisation within the opposition. Another University of Botswana (UB) political analyst, Mokaloba Mokaloba said a lot has been happening within the BDP and Cabinet, which was bound to cause some commotion. “All these have been happening in public and even in social media. It is no surprise to see some councillors coming out with guns blazing. The bigger picture is 2024, and some believe that the party is losing grip.
They are within their right to ask for accountability from the party leadership. What is happening in the BDP is just rumbling, which cannot cause a split. Members are simply concerned about the future of their party,” Mokaloba said in an interview. He said some councillors cannot ignore some of the things that are done by some Cabinet ministers as it soils the good name of the party.
The chairperson of the BDP communication and international relations subcommittee, Kagelelo Kentse said they are concerned about the recent attacks on party leadership made by some party members. “History has taught us that things end up leaking to the media through other platforms such as WhatsApp and others. These platforms are not official ones and councillors as leaders should have known better.
Some concerns might be genuine but the issue is how they are being raised. Again councillors have forums where they could call a Minister or ask for a meeting with the Vice President to discuss their concern regarding how the party or things are being done,” Kentse said.
He said the investigation will be carried out regarding those WhatsApp voice notes and appropriate recommendations will be made to the party leadership on the matter.