Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) president Mokgweetsi Masisi has been breathing down the neck of his deputy and Chairman of the ruling party- Slumber Tsogwane, demanding answers after emerging the biggest losers in the 11 council by-elections held last weekend.
Information gathered by this publication is that the BDP’s abysmal display has not sat well with Masisi and some of the party’s key financial sponsors. Sources at Tsholetsa House intimate that Masisi has demanded an elections report from Tsogwane together with other members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) over why BDP lost the polls.
Since becoming the BDP Chairman, Tsogwane has been under immense pressure to lead the party from the front, repeatedly being taken to task over his soft demeanour. During his tenure as BDP chairman, Masisi was known for being forthright in recruiting influential members from opposition, a move which Tsogwane is said to be failing to pull.
Some NEC members are said to have opposed the decision by the party’s leadership to suspend campaigns a week before the by-elections owing to rising Covid-19 cases. “It was a suicidal decision to do so at a time when the opposition was gaining the strength on the ground and campaigning in all corners when we just folded our arms. It is like the leadership has already knew or given up on the party winning the elections. It is unfair for some of us to be now pointing fingers to others after we got defeated in an embarrassing manner,” said the source.
The BDP chief financiers are also said to be worried by the declining popularity of the BDP and its leader Masisi with some of the sponsors, concerned that it is in its worst state ever. That being the case, The Patriot on Sunday is reliably informed that some of the key main BDP sponsors did not offer any financial assistance to the party in the just ended by-elections, hence another development that has forced the party to suspend campaigns citing Covid-19.
Traditionally, the BDP is known of staging mega campaigns as boosted by its rich well-wishers from the private sector but the opposition has managed to match BDP since 2019 general elections. President of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Advocate Duma Boko and his party staged fabulous campaigns that took the ruling BDP by surprise, with the observers pointing out that the 2019 UDC campaign was a wakeup call to the BDP for it to stop depending on financial power. Also, former president Ian Khama added to the BDP declining campaign fortunes in 2019 elections.
Khama who is the Patron of BDP splinter party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) took advantage of being the Kgosikgolo of GaMmangwato to dethrone the ruling party in the vital central district.
BDP spokesperson Kagelelo Kentse had not responded to questions sent to him, by the time of going to print.
Political and Administrative lecturer at University of Botswana (UB), Dr Adam Mfundisi, said the by- elections defeat symbolizes that voters have lost faith in both the BDP (which is in ICU), and the President, who was presented in the 2019 general polls as a messiah hence now losing popularity.
He said wild promises were made and during elections state machinery was deployed to rig elections. “Neither the President nor BDP has a vision for the country. There was a continuation of misrule by the BDP and its leadership. BDP MPs who were ‘elected’ through a fraudulent electoral process are weak and therefore unable to steer the country to higher heights. Current crop of Ministers lacks political, economic, and social prowess. It is the weakest in the history of the Cabinet in Botswana. They are devoid of ethical, moral and accountability considerations,” said Dr Mfundisi, commenting on BDP loss.
In addition, he said the opposition parties did the job easier for themselves as they exposed the weaknesses of BDP MPS through a series of sterling performance in broadcasted parliamentary debates. “Numerous motions presented by the opposition collective centred on the felt needs, interests, and aspirations of the people. Issues they raised resonated with the masses. BDP and its leadership resorted to pathological lies which the voters have realized. The trend will continue on unabated because the BDP and its current leadership are beyond reform. They lack honesty in their deeds or actions,” he said.
According to Mfundisi the UDC and its opposition partners have been fired up on their first task as a united opposition and will continues the onslaught on the moribund BDP and its government.
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