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BDP targets 52% popular vote

Publishing Date : 09 September, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is upbeat about the prospects of next month’s general elections to the extent that there is a belief that they will increase their 2014 popular vote from 47 percentage to 52 percentage after the polls.


The positivity according to the party’s National Campaigns Manager, Tebelelo Seretse is derived from many facets which includes goodwill for President Mokgweetsi Masisi and failure by the opposition to be united. “Of course these elections are different because we don’t have what we may call safe constituencies because of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). But we are confident that we will win because we have goodwill and the fact that AP and BMD are not part of the UDC is a plus to us,” Seretse told WeekendPost.


Seretse has been traversing the breadth and width of the country touring all the 57 constituencies. She says the mood from all the areas she has visited is humbling as all the party members are pulling to the same direction. “Realistically we are looking at the popular vote of above 52 percent since we didn’t do so well in the past elections. We are looking at about 60 or 65 percent popular vote if we have failed. In terms of constituencies we are looking at anything less than 50. This we are based on failure to unite by the opposition plus some inconsistencies by the opposition and we are adamant that they would swing pendulum to our favour.”


Seretse is of the view that had she assumed the campaigns manager role earlier, she could be telling a different story. In the past elections, the BDP popular vote fell drastically from 53 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in the last polls, their worst electoral performance since independence. In the process, the opposition won an unprecedented combined 20 seats in parliament. There were lot of variables in 2014 leading to BDP’s declining popular vote, chief among them acrimonious relationship with the workers and trade unions who decided TO endorse opposition coalition of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).


With government having increased public servants salaries as well as de-linking the disciplined forces from others, there is optimism within the ruling party.  A number of policies and actions by the party including attracting foreign direct investment, fighting unemployment, free education, and corruption free and strengthening of the government oversight institutions will ensure the BDP retain power according to Seretse.Seretse, who expressed confidence on the party’s tactics, said the approach vary per constituencies looking at many factors including the presence of the opposition and the general attitude of voters.


“For example what we do in urban areas will be different to what we do in a semi-Urban and rural area,” she said. With former President Lt Gen Ian Khama now fighting his ex-party through Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), the campaigns manager did not shy away from the fact they would want him back to their party. “Politics is a game of numbers and as a party we would like to see all our members back including former President Khama,” she said.


According to Seretse, the BDP stands to reach around 80 percent popular vote in 2024. This she says will be influence by the putting into action promises President Masisi is giving the nation going to these elections. She however admits the walk to elections is not free of thorns. “Of course there are challenges; we don’t have funds, but the democrats are trying. You can see the visibility of our party through the merchandise which came at the expense of party,” she said.


BDP popular vote since 1965
YEAR
PERCENTAGE
1965
80.4%
1969
68.83%
1974
76.62%
1979
75.16%
1984
68%
1989
64.78%
1994
54.59%
1999
54.34%
2004
50.63%
2009
53.26%
2014
46.7%

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