The formation of the breakaway Botswana Movement for Democracy has political commentators believing that cooperation between BMD, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) could the Botswana Democratic Party reign to a historic end.
Others however argue that, BMD will not bring anything new to the opposition table. The Voice spoke to some of the people who attended the much-publicised BMD convention last Saturday at Letlhabile Primary in Gaborone, to get their views on opposition politics.
“Common sense has finally prevailed. Now people will understand why we never bothered joining the ruling party. We have been vindicated and our brothers from the BMD will help us restore this country and bring dignity back to its inhabitants,” said Lorato Modiakgotla, a staunch member of the BCP.
She believes opposition unity is in the cards and the marginalised youth have been revitalised. “Young people have long given up on politics. With the help of BMD opposition parties can now get through to young voters,” she said with conviction.
A gentleman who identified himself only as Tembo said the formation of BMD will be a catalyst to opposition unity. He said BDP stayed in power due to bruised egos and political immaturity of some opposition leaders.
However Gilbert Motsepe from Mochudi does not know what all the noise is all about. The self-confessed staunch BNF member dismisses BMD as a political novice. “On paper they are an opposition party, but in principle they are not,” he charged.
“Everything these guys are saying is old news to us. If they now believe in what we have been saying for all these years why don’t they join us instead of forming a new party,” Motsepe asked rhetorically.
Motsepe does not rule out the possibility of BMD members going back to BDP should President Seretse Khama Ian Khama opt out.
“They only have a problem with Khama and if he leaves they would have nothing more to fight about,” he said.
He said at the moment people will do and say the right things so as not to rock the boat. “But as time goes on egos will creep up again and opposition parties will be on a collision course,” opined Motsepe.
The statement prompts Modiakgotla to shout; “You don’t belong to BNF o mo Domkrag (you are BDP)!”
The BCP General Secretary Lucas Taolo concurs with Tembo and Modiakgotla.
“BMD as adding impetus to the struggle against unilateralism, abuse of power and disregard for human rights by the current administration,” Taolo said.
Lucas doubts that BMD members will retrace back to the BDP. He said the BCP experience is that once a party is formed, it normally assumes a form and character that is distinct from the one it is breaking away from.
“One however, cannot rule out the possibility of a few opportunistic elements retracing back their steps to the old party. The challenge for the BMD will be to remain consistent and true to the ideals that prompted them to form a party,” Taolo said.