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Ntuane grumbles over ‘BDP illegitimacy’ tag

Publishing Date : 12 September, 2016

Author : THABO BAGWASI

Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane has objected to an impression, he says has been illuminated in the press to portray his party’s government as illegitimate.

The former Member of Parliament (MP) for Bonnington South constituency said there has been a pattern wherein the media, “fed by opposition party propagandists,” has portrayed the 46% popular vote harvested by the BDP in the 2014 general election to somewhat signify the lack of legitimacy of its government.

Ntuane further said that, “contrary to propaganda, the BDP runs a legitimately elected government that enjoys a healthy majority in parliament that enables us to enact laws, govern unencumbered, and run a single party government.”

He described the issue as gaining popular currency in certain sections of the media, without any sign that it will let down any time soon. He further said that in a way it is designed to imply that the 46% share of the popular vote renders BDP somewhat unpopular.

He further asserted that “there is nothing out of this world about attaining less than 50% so long as a party is able to govern effectively and has the right numbers in local government”.

“The BDP attained 46% popular vote, all of a sudden everyone was telling us that the sky is falling and that it is the end of everything,” he said.

Ntuane continued further, “so much song and dance has been made about the fact that in 2014 our share of the popular vote dipped below 50% and for our detractors that renders us somewhat illegitimate and unpopular. Like earlier mentioned, this is self-serving propaganda that makes the opposition feel better when the reality is that they have failed to dislodge the BDP in 50 years.”

He also continued to state this in itself constitutes failure of historic proportions on the part of our opposition.

Ntuane further gave examples of 10 countries including Israel, Sweden, India, Malawi, Lesotho, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand as well as Mauritius which he said ruling parties have obtained far below the 50% popular-vote in general elections between 2014 and 2015 but are strongly in power. He said that while Israel’s Likud party amassed 23.4% in 2015 it is notwithstanding a senior coalition partner in government.

Ntuane also continued to say that: “no one in the countries cited speaks the kind of language we hear in Botswana about the 50% watermark.”He also said that the claim that opposition is more popular than BDP is another example of self-serving propaganda.

He further dismissed opposition parties 53% share of the popular vote saying there is no party called opposition in the country because the opposition popular vote is split between different parties.

“So this notion that you can conflate the separate figures into one common denominator and claim that there is a party called opposition is not true. If there was a party called opposition with a 53% share of popular vote, they will be in power,” Ntuane said.

He also said that while it is not to say that his party is happy with its share of the popular vote however, “the debate over the 50% should be brought to an end once and for all.”

Umbrella for Democratic Change and Botswana Congress Party attained 30% and 20% respectively while independent candidates attained 3% in the last general election.

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