The once perceived the silent partner in the coalition, Botswana People’s Party is holding on to its hefty demands that the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) should increase its stake in terms of allocated constituencies ahead of 2024 pols, a move which is said to be making UDC to lose its patience with BPP.
Information reaching this publication is that BPP is determined to throw the spanner in the works as UDC prepares to nail cooperation talks with Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). The Patriot on Sunday is reliably informed that BPP has continued to puts the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) under an immense pressure, by insisting that it also wants large piece of the cake.
In 2019 general elections, BPP was allocated five (5) constituencies under the UDC setup but it has since indicated that it wants over 10 constituencies as the UDC prepares to welcome AP and BPF respectively. Also, another prospective UDC partner in BPF is also said to be demanding more of constituencies across Central District – he bogosi terrain of Ian Khama who is viewed to be influential in UDC decision making process.
Khama is the BPF patron and its main financier and has also pledged funding for the UDC in 2024. “UDC is worried that BPP could be on a mission to disrupt the process. BPP has put its demands and the UDC feel that there is still need to be a review as both AP and BPF are supposed to join. BPP could soon find itself sacrificed in the coalition due its damning demands on constituencies sharing,” a source said.
During 2019 elections, BPP was allocated five (5) constituencies to contest for under the UDC. On Thursday, BPP Publicity Secretary Tiroeaone Ntsima confirmed that BPP wants more constituencies. “We have always felt we were given less constituencies especially from the north and south. So, we have indeed asked for more,” he said, adding that the party’s demands should not be viewed as troublesome.
Oozing with confidence Ntsima added: “BPP and UDC are inseparable. All the partners have walked out and have you ever heard of the BPP walking out of the coalition. BPP is the UDC”.
Some of the constituencies that BPP is demanding include Mochudi East where it wants its Secretary General Dr Nono-Kgafela Mokoka to contest, Gaborone North for BPP National Chairman Professor Bulawa. UDC president Duma Boko contested in Gaborone North in 2014 and 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, Ntsima said BPP as part of preparing for next year elections convened North and South congress, adding that the North region congress was held last week with South coming in two weeks.
“The bigger picture is to get the regional structures ready for 2024 general elections. UDC want the structures to merge so that we are ready for other UDC partners,” he said in an interview of Thursday.
Political commentator Frank Mogotsi said UDC should exercise caution on allocation of constituencies, adding that the process in the past has proven to be derailing the prospects of unity ahead of elections. He said UDC should have in place a model that will allow it to allocate constituencies in the sense that it will not create divisions whereby another party get more and other get less constituencies.
“BPP could be demanding more share because it is aware that new partners in AP and BPF could be given more especially from the constituencies which had been held by Botswana Congress Party (BCP). It IS unfortunate that every time when a partner leave UDC, fight for its constituencies emerge,” he added.
He added: “We witnessed ahead of 2019 elections how UDC partners fought for Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) constituencies when it was expelled. That alone resulted in vote splitting for the UDC especially in most of the constituencies it had won in 2014 and that affected its popular vote badly.”
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