• Primary election losers migrate to the new party
• Unhappy at UDC, key figures dump BCP for BPF
Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which forms part of the alliance, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) continues to lose key figures to the new political formation, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
Since its inception few months back, BPF another break away party from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been attracting new members from other political formations. Most of those who joined BPF had lost primary elections and wanted to resuscitate their dwindling political careers. Others were denied the opportunity to contest for the looming polls for various reasons. Within the coalition, UDC some candidates had to make way for others as a way of reaching a compromise. Those that were recalled saw the BPF as an opportunity to achieve their dream. So far BCP have lost former Francistown regional chairperson, Dingalo Ditsheko and majority of Francistown west constituency committee members to the BPF.
The latest to dump the lime movement is the youth league vice president, Nthusi Chimbisi. Chimbisi has been harbouring ambitions to contest for Francistown West constituency. Vain Mamela, Marea Kusasa and Chimbisi were scheduled to contest for the primaries in Francistown West under the UDC but there was a battering exchange between the now expelled coalition partner BMD and the BCP. BMD gave BCP Maun West and it got Francistown West which it later passed to Botswana People’s Party. The decision left the three aspiring candidates heart broken. Kusasa has since relocated to the BPP.
“Yes I can confirm that I have left BCP and joined BPF. BPF has already confirmed me as their parliamentary candidate for Francistown West constituency for the upcoming general elections slated for October 23,” the soft spoken Chimbisi told The Patriot on Sunday. Quizzed on what prompted him to find a new political home, Chimbisi said, “I decided to join BPF after finding out that the party has a strategic partnership with the main opposition UDC. The two parties’ mandate is to oust BDP which has been in power for the past 53 years.” When put to him that UDC has already secured a candidate in Francistown West, Chimbisi said voters will choose whom they prefer between Mbaakanyi Lenyatso and him. He expressed optimism that he will perform well at the general elections as he has a strong campaign team which has already hit the ground running. “BPF has a huge following in the constituency that is why I am confident of performing fairly well,” he further held.
Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Botswana, Dr Kebapetse Lotshwao opined that, “it is important to note that it is not only the BCP that lost members to BPF; other parties did too especially the BDP. However, considering that the BCP is a small party, losing members to another party weakens it further, in the process undermining its consolidation and ability to become a mass and national party.”
Another political analyst, Leonard Sesa is of the view that most of the people who joined BPF lost primary elections in their previous political parties. He continued that most of them want to benefit from former president Ian Khama’s popularity. “Khama is still respected especially in rural areas so most of the people who joined BPF want to ride on his popularity when campaigning to convince electorates to vote for them,” Sesa underscored.