Home Politically speaking WHY THE BCP DOESN’T NEED THE UMBRELLA

WHY THE BCP DOESN’T NEED THE UMBRELLA

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NO GOING BACK: Taolo Lucas

The Publicity Secretary of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Taolo Lucas believes that his party will do well without the opposition cooperation popularly known as the Umbrella II in the next general elections.

This week he explains why he believes BCP does not need the umbrella to successfully compete for the hearts and minds of Batswana in the 2014 elections.

Q. Tell us about the BCP stand in regard to Umbrella II
We have decided that BCP will not take part in Umbrella II. We indicated that if there are any negotiations to be entered into by the BCP they shall exclude the Umbrella model. We also indicated that we would be open to post election arrangements.

Q. So you so believe that you can oust BDP alone in 2014?
Whether we will make it alone or not depends on how hard we work and how organized we get. Let me indicate here that, we believe as the BCP that we have a party that is stable. Our structures by and large are working. We have a leadership that I believe has a vision and we have a strategic plan that we adopted last year which I think if we harness all these fundamentals we are poised to do very well in the 2014 general elections.

Q. I listened to a number of radio interviews in the past few weeks and several BCP leaders somehow admitted that they alone cannot oust the BDP. If it is a foregone conclusion that BCP would not pose any serious challenge to the BDP alone, is taking part in the 2014 general elections then just to prove that it is big and a fast growing party?
I don’t think that is what they said. Basically what people are saying is that it would have been worthwhile, appropriate or even worked better if we contested 2014 general elections under a united opposition. But it does not mean that when we are alone we would not do well. I believe anybody with such defeatist attitude would not be placed to contest elections in this country.

Q. So do you see yourself going to Parliament outside the Umbrella?
There are only two parties in Bobirwa so Umbrella I and II are irrelevant in that part of the country. In fact this past week I was briefing them (constituents) about the Umbrella and they were at pains understanding what I was talking about. 

Q. But you have suffered miserable defeats at the hands of BDP in the past three general elections. Maybe the Umbrella was going to come to your rescue.
With or without the Umbrella the difference is the same in Bobirwa. There is no other party besides BDP and BCP in Bobirwa and it has always been like that. In the last elections I recorded 5040 and Shaw Kgathi won with 5880 votes. We were in the 5000 range and I believe that if we had marshaled our teams well in terms of getting our people to vote, we would have made it. The vote that you see is minus civil servants and others who did not vote because ballot papers were not ready in time for them to vote.

I will work very hard as I have always done and I believe that by putting a lot of effort and with the party also helping me and the constituency we can win.

Q. From what I hear your constituency is very hard to win.
The constituency is very difficult because there are entrenched interests out there. There are areas such as Tuli Block and Mashatu where powerful ruling party politicians and individuals with business interests would probably assist financially and otherwise to make sure the constituency does not fall into opposition hands.

I am not yet giving up. I still believe there is potential for me to deliver the constituency to the BCP. When I arrived in Bobirwa to contest for the first time Bobirwa was an untouchable BDP stronghold and nobody thought it could be marginal as it is today. We have brought the constituency to a point where it is winnable.

Q. I am told you are for the Umbrella but you are only failing to stand up to the BCP President?
Initially the whole party was for the Umbrella, myself included. But I happen to be one of the people who spoke strongly against Umbrella II. Any insinuation that I might be attracted to Umbrella II is wrong and unfounded. I believe Umbrella II has no potential for doing well in the next elections because you see, the issue of time to market the new party Alliance for Democratic Change would not be enough. I don’t think they have time and the necessary political infrastructure to make it.

They are better off preparing for 2019 if they are to beat anybody, that is, if the Umbrella would still be alive.

Q. So the new Party would be called Alliance For Democratic Change?
That is the name. At least the last time we were there, the name was being bandied around and I don’t know if the name still stands.

Q. All right then, why did you step down from the Secretary General Position?
At the time when I decided to step down from the Secretary General seat the party was engaged in a merger agreement with Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) and the merger obviously meant that there were more people available to occupy different positions and I took a decision that I shall contest the Publicity Secretary position.The Vice President then was Rre Gobotswang (DR Kesitegile). I suggested to him that perhaps he should occupy that position. At the time Rre Setshwaelo (Lepetu) was coming into the party and was the President of BAM.

Q. Were you getting Dr Gobotswang closer to the Presidency since the Vice President seat is too docile? I understand he is the President in waiting.
I am not sure about that one but what I do know is that at that point we were accommodating one another. I want to believe that Gobotswang was much closer to Presidency as Vice President than Secretary General. In fact he was quite a very effective Vice President. The problem with the media is that you judge people on the basis of how many interviews they have. The work of the Vice President is mainly focused on matters of policy and party organization.

Q. What about Lotty Manyapetsa. I am told the BCP leadership allowed him to lead the Youth League even though he is “42-years old”.  Your comment?
Hahahahahaaa! Who told you that? I believe he has not yet reached 40. As far as I know Rre Manyapetsa will quit his position in the youth league this year after reaching the age that would  bar him from contesting that position.

Q. Back to Umbrella II do you think there is still a chance for BCP to go into an electoral pact with any party?
If an opportunity presents itself for us to engage anyone of the political parties we shall do that. But our concentration now is on preparing for the 2014 general elections as a party.

I think as a party we have the fundamentals right then we believe that if we harness the potential, then we will do well in the 2014 general elections. If doing well would not give us state power, we will be a powerful force in this democracy.

Q. So it’ll depends on “the fundamentals” then?
The other option that may exist after the elections could be that we work with other parties, assuming that we would have done well in other parts of the country. If we engage in those post elections arrangement, there is likelihood that together we would make it in the election after the coming ones.

Q. Back to Umbrella II do you think there is still a chance for BCP to go into an electoral pact with any party?
If an opportunity presents itself for us to engage anyone of the political parties we shall do that. But our concentration now is on preparing for the 2014 general elections as a party.

I think as a party we have the fundamentals right then we believe that if we harness the potential, then we will do well in the 2014 general elections. If doing well would not give us state power, we will be a powerful force in this democracy.

Q. So it’ll depends on “the fundamentals” then?
The other option that may exist after the elections could be that we work with other parties, assuming that we would have done well in other parts of the country. If we engage in those post elections arrangement, there is likelihood that together we would make it in the election after the coming ones.

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