‘I am only for opposition unity. The UDC is the only vehicle that can dethrone the BDP from power’
Dr Tshabang, Keorapetse shun lobby groups
Just two months before the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) elective congress, which will determine the party’s future within the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), accusations of dirty campaigns have been flying thick and fast.
MP for Selibe-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse and Dr Never Tshabang of Nkange, who are contesting the BCP Chairmanship and Secretary General positions respectively, have been accused of being pro-UDC leader Duma Boko and pushing his agenda in the coalition.
The allegations, which are believed to be an attempt to decampaign the duo, came after they declined to align with any lobby group ahead of the congress.
There is a growing narrative among some comrades that the duo is anti-BCP position to compel the UDC to hold an elective congress. Further, they are accused of protecting Boko, who is unwanted among some vocal BCP cadres. Both Keorapetse and Tshabang have dismissed the allegations, but reiterated and maintained that they are solely for opposition unity under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
In an interview, Dr Tshabang confirmed that he is vying for the secretary general position and is not aligned to any lobby group due to the toxic politics within the lobby groups.
On allegations that he is being sponsored by UDC president Boko, who some within the BCP leadership want to have challenged for the Umbrella presidency, Dr Tshabang dismissed the allegations saying he is for opposition unity.
“There is no future outside the UDC and because we advocate for unity of all political parties under UDC some view us as being against the party’s leadership which is wrong,” revealed Tshabang.
He refused to be drawn into allegations that there are those who want the BCP to leave the UDC. This gathered momentum when BCP’s University of Botswana students were side-lined during the SRC elections. “I will not support any move to leave the UDC because that is the only way we can wrestle power from the BDP,” he said.
Tshabang is not going to have it easy as he is facing prominent BCP members who also enjoy backing of the lobby groups. He will face Member of Parliament for Maun East Goretetse Kekgonegile and Canada-based Moncho Moncho.
Kekgonegile is not a pushover as he is an experienced politician having led Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities & Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) as its president before he joined active politics.
Keorapetse, who will make history as the youngest person within BCP to contest for the national chairperson position, will face party’s stalwarts being Stephen Makhura and Samuel Rantuana. Makhura is well respected politician within the BCP having served as the elections officer for the party and councillor for Malotwane ward in Kgatleng West. Rantuana is the former Member of Parliament for Ramotswa.