The BDP says decentralization is to make service delivery and participatory democracy easier but observers see a ploy to dismantle former president Ian Khama’s political sway in the extensive Central District
The recent decision by the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to disaffiliate from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is rending the party asunder with some members remaining loyal to the BCP and others with the coalition.
We are reliably informed that those opting for the UDC believe the decision to exit the coalition was wrong, suicidal, and is likely to cost them in the next general elections in 2024. Sources say while the decision to quit the UDC was unanimously endorsed by the party’s highest authority, the congress, some members are not comfortable with it and prefer to align themselves with UDC.
Confused and trapped in between
The intra-party division is most conspicuous at the ongoing campaign to win Moselewapula council bye-election in Francistown West. “It is evident that some BCP members have not welcomed this decision and have joined the campaign on the side of the UDC,” said one source. “Some seem confused and trapped in between.”
While attendance at last weekend’s UDC rally to launch the coalition’s candidate for Moselewapula may not prove the alleged division, it has been confirmed that some BCP members were in attendance at this rally as opposed to attending the BCP rally which was held on the same day and for the same purpose.
Reached for comment, the Secretary General of the , who is a part of the UDC campaign team, said a considerable number of BCP members have joined the UDC as individuals. “We have some BCP members who are part of the UDC campaign but most of them are not from Francistown,” he said. “Those from this area seem confused or afraid to publicly align themselves with UDC.”
Retracing their steps
According to the Chairman of the BCP’s Francistown West Branch, Smarts Shabani, although some of their members were appalled by the decision to quit the UDC, they have since retraced their steps after the leadership intervened.
“It is true that some of our members felt that the party did not make the right decision,” Shabani said. “However, some have retraced their steps after our intervention, although with reservations. It is worth noting that while people approach new developments differently, in the long run they realise that they are putting their party at stake.”