- Want to reconcile with BCP only if it remains a UDC affiliate
- BCP says re-applying for membership is the way to go for the MPs
Expelled MPs of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) say they are willing to reconcile with their party if it remains in the coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), The Botswana Gazette has established.
The BCP recently expelled its MPs for defying the party. These include the MP for Selibe-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse, the MP for the Okavango Kenny Kapinga, the MP for Mahalapye West David Tshere, the MP for Palapye Onnetse Ramogapi and the MP for Nkange Dr Never Tshabang.
But there are early signs of a likely stalemate because the party says they cannot dictate terms if they sincerely want to return to the BCP fold.
In an interview with this publication this week, one of the MPs said they are putting this caveat forward because they were presented to the electorate and won elections under the UDC ticket rather than as members of the BCP.
“Our wish is to reconcile with the BCP,” said David Tshere of Mahalapye West. “If the BCP decides to quit the UDC, it would become difficult to reconcile because that would be risky and may take our political careers backwards.”
As things stand, he emphasised, they are MPs of the UDC and will remain so until after the 2024 general elections when they will decide on a new political home. Tshere said if they have to make that decision, they would consider factors such as party constitutions, the electorate and their personal interests.
Defeated under BCP ticket
“Some of us had experienced defeat several times under the BCP ticket but won under the UDC,” he noted. “That is why we still believe in the UDC project whose mandate is to go into government.”
But he conceded that the leadership of the BCP may be reluctant to accept their terms. “Even when they visited our constituencies, they never raised the issue of reconciliation,” the MP said. “Besides, we have yet to get a positive response concerning reconciliation.”
The MP for the Okavanago, Kapinga said that he recently discussed reconciliation with his constituents but would not elaborate.
The MP for Palapye, Onneetse Ramogapi, said they are not under any pressure to join other political parties because they ran for elections under the UDC ticket.
“Besides that, the UDC has a provision for individual membership that gives us the right to stand for any political position within the party,” he said.
“It is only that the UDC affiliates did not promote individual membership because they wanted to protect the general membership of their individual parties.”
They should re-apply
Reached for comment, the Secretary General of the BCP, Goretetse Kekgonegile, said there is no way the party could reconcile with the MPs because there has never been a fight between the two.
“It is therefore wrong of them to be calling for reconciliation,” Kekgonegile said. “It is only a matter of apologising and re-applying for membership in their respective party structures.”
He added that dictating terms means the MPs have no intention of re-joining the party. “You cannot expect to join the party and dictate how the party should deal with you,” he asserted.