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 Gauging the BCP-BLP alliance

Daniel Chida
PARTNERSHIP: BCP and BPL form new alliance

They do share one thing in common as they come from the BNF – Analyst

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has finally landed a political party to work with going into the 2024 General Elections. In the past elections, 2019, the BCP contested under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), which had the Botswana People’s Party and the Botswana National Front (BNF).

However, after the elections, the BCP decided to move out of the UDC but remained UDC members inside parliament. The party, which is led by Dumelang Saleshando, went further and held talks with the Alliance for Progressives but those talks collapsed, forcing the party to look elsewhere.

In came the newly born Botswana Labour Party (BLP), led by Prince Dibeela. BLP, just like the BCP, is a breakaway from the BNF. The Voice staffer, DANIEL CHIDA, speaks to some political analysts to see how the new BCP – BLP alliance will perform.

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Gauging the BCP-BLP alliance
MASTER MFUNDISI

Master Mfundisi – Political Analyst

Botswana’s political landscape has changed drastically since the most controversial and scandalous 2019 general elections. President Mokgweetsi Masisi and former President Ian Khama’s political battle has complicated the political dynamics of Botswana. In addition, political polarisation and partisan politics promoted by the Masisi regime have made our politics more interesting, unpredictable, and uncertain.

No single political party can survive solo in Botswana’s polarised and unpredictable political landscape. Voters have lost trust and confidence in party politics and the political system. However, the 2024 general polls will be the most competitive and the results cannot be easily predicted. There are indications that we may not have a single party winning 50% plus one to win outright.

A coalition government is a possibility. BCP – BLP Alliance is desirable and necessary for both parties’ political survival and posterity. The BLP is in its infancy and needs a well-established party such as the BCP.

On the other hand, the BCP needs the BLP to entrench itself in the southern part of the country where the BLP has its origin and support. It offers refugees for those who have lost faith in the Botswana National Front and UDC politics. Voters are generally afforded a wide choice between BCP Alliance, BDP, and UDC. A three-way contest is necessary and desirable for democratic consolidation.

A free, fair, democratic, and accountable electoral process is imperative so that the will of the people is guaranteed. Therefore, all electoral processes, including the voter registration drive, must be sufficiently monitored, observed, and evaluated. In addition, we need an independent judiciary that advocates and litigates for justice, equity, and inclusivity. Courts have to defend and promote our democracy, rather than subvert it.

Courts must never be weaponised to resist democracy in terms of transparent, free, fair, and accountable elections. Peace we have enjoyed is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice, equity, and inclusivity.

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Gauging the BCP-BLP alliance
MOKALOBA MOKALOBA

Mokaloba Mokaloba – Political Analyst

It is always a good initiative to unite any opposition parties as total opposition cooperation is the solution to regime change. However, BLP, as a newcomer, still has to show why it should be taken as a game-changer. They might have little impact on the performance of the two parties. However, 2024 general elections are still tricky to predict, the BCP has started well with its preparations and it will be boosted by its performance in Lepokolole by-elections where it emerged as the winner.

However, general elections are a different ball game and time will tell.

Gauging the BCP-BLP alliance
BASHI MOTHUSI

Bashi Mothusi – Political Analyst

I think what the two parties did is what they think can work in their favour. For a long time, people have felt that a fragmented opposition cannot challenge the BDP. Any form of cooperation is needed among opposition parties for them to launch a serious challenge against the BDP. The two did what needed to be done. They are moving in the right direction more so that the BLP is still new and does not have any strong base. I believe that for it to grow, it has to work with an established party like the BCP.

They do share one thing in common as they come from the BNF or they were formed after having some differences with the BNF leadership. Although it happened under different presidents, they once shared the same political ideology and it will be easy for them to work together. BLP does not have a ward or Member of Parliament, we can only judge its performance with the BCP after elections.

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