Cash-strapped BCP closes party offices


FRANCISTOWN: Cash-strapped Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has closed all party offices outside Gaborone.

While admitting that lack of funding has led to this decision, BCP secretary general, Kesitegile Gobotswang has denied reports that the opposition party has been reduced to a ‘briefcase party’.

Recent reports indicated that not only is the BCP shutting down operations around the country, but that even the party headquarters in Gaborone would also be closed for business.

“The truth is that as for our Gaborone office, our lease expired end of June and the landlord wanted to use the building for other purposes. As a party, we wanted to relocate after our congress but due to the agreement we have with the landlord by yesterday (Thursday) we would have moved,” said Gobotswang.

“Really we can’t close our head office as that is the heart of the party as we can’t afford to run our affairs from a briefcase,” he insisted.

Gobotswang stressed that although their lease expired end of June, a new lease will be running immediately in July.

As for the Francistown office, Gobotswang state that a decision was taken for it to be run by the Francistown region whilst the party met the requisite costs.

“The region couldn’t run the office as agreed and since we are low on resources, we took a deliberate decision to close the office end of June,” he said.

As for another strategically located Gumare office, which was catering for the northwestern areas of the country, it was closed about six years ago.

Amongst others, he said the benefit of having fully functioning party offices is to take party services nearer to the people.

Services such as party cards distribution, registration of new members and other matters relevant to the needs of a growing party like the BCP.

Gobotswang reiterated the position held by opposition parties and of recent reformists in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) that the government should consider political party funding. This, he said, would ease the political parties from the burden of raising elusive funds.

“Otherwise, it will be difficult for the opposition to maintain the offices that we need to effectively and efficiently coordinate our activities from a central point,” he said, adding that he foresees a serious struggle in the opposition bloc as funds are important in the process of nurturing democracy.

“Our wish was to have party offices in major towns and cities but because of the problem of funding we really can’t do anything with it,” Gobotswang bemoaned their challenges.

He explained that the relationship that his party has with the British Labour Party does not include funding for party offices.

“As for the British Labour Party and the BCP, the relationship is still there but it can only assist us access help from the Westminster Foundation Funding which is directly limited to capacity building of cadres as it funded training focusing on women and the youth,” he further said.

The financial pinch is not biting opposition ranks only. Just recently, the BDP retrenched its top staff, among them executive secretary Sechele Sechele, deputy executive secretary Lee Lesetedi, political officer Martha Keboletse and accounting officer Osenotse Malela.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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