Hundreds of Bangwato thronged Serowe bus rank on Thursday afternoon to witness the official welcoming of Serowe West parliamentary hopeful, Tshekedi khama into Botswana Patriotic Front. The troubled opposition party Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is likely to plunge into extinction if the party cannot turn the tables around from recent successive court defeats against the buoyant Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), political analysts have said.
Following the numerous losses political analyst Mokaloba Mokaloba observes that it is too late for the party to mount a strong campaign ahead of the October polls- due in four weeks, insisting that the party has been heavily crippled by the court cases. He said BMD has a mountain to climb in order to turn its fortunes around in the next elections because of heightened possibility of the party losing some of its supporters to other politicial parties. “BMD has been unstable since it experienced split two years back that led to the formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP) by Ndaba Gaolathe. The party is not strong on the ground for these elections and even the new Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is stronger than BMD now,” he opined.
According to Mokaloba, there is a need for leadership overhaul at the BMD for new members to take the reigns from Sydney Pilane, because the party weakened heavily under his watch.
Political commentator Anthony Morima says BMD has reached its death mark, observing that the party’s chance of winning a single parliamentary seat in this year’s elections remains slim. Morima avers that BMD’s prospects of winning a constituency stood an advantage at Kgatleng West of the incumbent area MP Gilbert Mangole courtesy of Bakgatla’s initial voting tradition.
“The only constituency they could win is of Gilbert Mangole but his chances are also very slim because of intensified competition between UDC and BDP candidates as the BMD popularity of 2014 is waning. Pilane also have a mountain to climb at Gaborone North against Balopi and Nkaigwa,” said Morima pointing out that BMD should at least accept defeats and regroup. He noted that the party should take transformation route to gain momentum for the 2024 elections saying that the current limping BMD’s future is not promising beyond UDC pact.
Professor Zibani Maudeni however, said BMD can still survive as a standalone party like other political parties being the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and new Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). He indicated that BMD can still regain as the party has pinned more its hopes for survival in the court ruling that unfortunately ruled in favour of UDC hence denting its capability outside UDC.
BMD president Sydney Pilane also remains optimistic that the successive defeats in the courts will cause any harm to their party adding that BMD is capable beyond relying on UDC coalition. However, Pilane has made reservations that UDC can perform well like it did in the past general elections insisting that BMD played a vital role in contributing to 17 parliament seats for UDC.
BMD has been embroiled in bitter war against the UDC coalition challenging its expulsion from the alliance, with pundits observing that repeated defeats could lead to the currency of the party diminishing, if not totally losing followers as its credibility is dented. The first ever splinter party from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lost with costs the case in which it was challenging its expulsion from the UDC. To make matters worse, the party was left with a bitter pill to swallow when the Court of Appeal (CoA) refused to expedite its appeal against high court ruling in favour of UDC.
The analysts also anticipate that the big enemy for the party is losing of its members as well as some elections candidates to other parties just before the elections due to doubts in the party. BMD has already lost two (2) parliamentary candidates in Dr Tlamelo Mmatli, also former BMD vice president who has retraced his steps back to UDC and representing it at Molepolole South.
Also the initial parliamentary candidate for Mogoditshane, Bruce Nkgakile, ditched the troubled opposition party recently to join the newly formed BDP splinter party, BPF as MP candidate too. BMD has fielded parliamentary candidates in Gaborone North represented by Sydney Pilane, Lobatse under party chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Olebeng Tsiane at Molepolole South.
have been a strong hold for the ruling party due to the fact that the founding president of the BDP, Seretse Khama originated from the village. Khama announced that his younger brother will be launched on October 12.
After the rally, The Patriot on Sunday interviewed some of the people who were in attendance to get their views about their political party’s biggest catch. One elderly woman, Pono Kealotswe said Tshekedi’s defection was long overdue. “I am glad that Tshekedi has joined his brother at BPF, which has been our desire as Bangwato. Ian and Tshekedi are biological brothers and they deserve to be in the same political party, nothing will separate them,” she revealed with a smile on her wrinkled face. Another BPF activist, Molebi Moleele notes that they are now elated that Tshekedi has listened to his elder brother’s plea to join BPF. He added, “It was going to be difficult for him to retain Serowe West under the BDP, of late political dynamics have changed in Serowe after the formation of BPF.
Segodi Thako opined that Tshekedi has been ridiculed at the BDP so he took the right decision to leave. “Tshekedi belongs to the royal family of Gammangwato, we were saddened by how he was treated at the BDP but we are over the moon that he has joined a party that will embrace him,” Thako averred. Tshekedi will now face his primary elections opponent, Moemedi Dijeng at the upcoming polls. BDP decided to appoint Dijeng as their parliamentary candidate after Tshekedi defected at the eleventh hour.