*10 000 people expected at AP event *BMD leaders not welcome
All roads lead to Ba Isago University in Gaborone this Saturday where the new kid on the political block, Alliance for Progressives, (AP) will be launched.
AP is a breakaway from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), which too broke away from Botswana Democratic Party.
The new party was formed following the chaotic July BMD elective congress in Bobonong where two warring factions of the BMD emerged, one led by Ndaba Gaolathe and the other led by Sidney Pilane, but both claiming legitimacy.
The impasse was referred to the mother body, which is the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) for resolution.
The Ndaba faction however eventually decided to reject the UDC recommendations and form a new party instead.
This week, Voice Staffer, Daniel Chida speaks to AP’s Secretary General, Dr Phenyo Butale to give us an insight on what his party has is store.
Q. AP is to be launched tomorrow, Saturday, 28th. Can you tell us what you have in store?
Our event will start with a convention for the 700 delegates that we are expecting followed by a motorcade and the launch, which is the main event in the afternoon We have a constitution that has to be adopted by the party and it will be done this Saturday at the event.
In total we are expecting over 10 000 people to grace this occasion.
Another thing with us is that we are promoting local artists and some of them will be performing there.
Q: 700 delegates and 10 000 people! Are you sure you are not overly ambitious Honourable, how did you come up with such big numbers?
I am not exaggerating anything, we formed a new party yes but all the structures that we had while at BMD have been relocated to the new party including our regional structures.
We are going to have 12 regions and those regions have constituencies and branches within them.
Each ward will be expected to bring 12 delegates and the overall number expected is 700 delegates.
Q. What budget are you looking at?
Since the launch will be the first of its kind, we are looking at a budget of about P500 000.
We have invited international media and friends from other International parties to join us.
Q. Can you be specific about the International political parties that you have invited?
For now we have invited various friend from different political parties across the world .
We are yet to establish international relations with other parties because we are still new but once we settle we will decide whom to align with.
Q. Locally whom have you invited?
We have invited opposition parties that we believe share the same values and mandate as us.
We have invited the UDC as the mother body and also invited all opposition parties’ presidents individually.
The only party that we didn’t invite is the BMD because we don’t recognise it.
Q. What if UDC extends the invitation to BMD?
The UDC has made us aware that they don’t recognise the Pilane leadership so we are sure that they won’t pass our invitation to BMD.
UDC knows that we don’t share the same values as BMD.
Q. What if the BMD come uninvited?
They are not welcome and I think they would be preoccupied with their own party affairs to be gate-crushing events that they are not invited to.
Q. You launched the party brand, how has been the response?
The response has been phenomenal and after the launch, many youth have shown interest in helping the party to grow.
We do harness the use of technology to take the country forward.
It was the first time for a political party in Botswana to emphasise on brand identity and to showcase our regalia in the form of a fashion show.
We encourage people to buy our merchandise because the funds will help us to take the party message to all corners of the country.
Q. After the launch, what is it that you have in the pipeline for prospective voters?
We are going to have regional launches all over the country and then after that we will be establishing branches.
Q. As a new party in the opposition what challenges do you experience?
We have been struggling to find office space that would accommodate both the elders and disabled people.
We have been sabotaged by property owners who felt that feared victimization if they accommodated us but we are closer to securing one.
Even things like getting a venue for our gatherings have been a very big challenge as some cancelled our bookings at the last minute.
Q. Lastly,how is AP different from other opposition parties?
AP differs because unlike other parties, AP believes in progressivism, which is anchored on a massive overhaul of the lives of Batswana.
For us freedom is redefined as the fulfillment of human capacities, which becomes the primary task of the state.