Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) should be worried to be losing people of the political calibre of the former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Margaret Nasha, political analysts have warned.
Dr Nasha defected from the ruling BDP to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) this week. The BDP through its Chairman, Mokgweetsi Masisi has said that Dr Nasha’s move has been long overdue as she has not been active in the party.
Masisi who is also the country’s Vice President told a press conference in Mogoditshane early this week that Dr Nasha’s defection was just a formality.Political Analyst Anthony Morima stated in an interview that the ruling party should be worried. He said what Masisi said at the media briefing was just a political statement. “Dr Nasha is one of the BDP members whom people never thought at one point she could leave the party. Her illustrious work at the BDP says it all. This could be a motivation to other BDP members who have been reluctant to ditch the party to do so,” said.
Morima explained that the only problem is that Dr Nasha might not bring along with her many people who are currently holding positions of responsibility within the BDP. “People will defect but not as many as they could if Dr Nasha was holding a position because we are used to the scenario where someone in position of power would defect with considerable number of people.” Morima also warned the BDP not to forget that Dr Nasha is synonymous with government. He stated that with Dr Nasha at the UDC, the party could be better placed to get funding from international organisations.
“She has made international friends when she was the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration and Minister for Local Government. This could come in handy for the UDC. I believe she has more friends around the world and through her UDC could possibly get political funding. So these are some of the things that the BDP should have in mind when such a high profile individual quits the party. Even some BDP veterans who feel not welcome might seize this opportunity and jump ship,” stated Morima.Political Lecturer at University of Botswana, Batlang Seabo said, “She was not just any ordinary member. This is a heavy blow for the BDP. She may not have been active but it does not render her obsolete. She could have been useful to the party in many ways like being part of the Council of Elders and assist in directing the party.”
He explained that the current position that the BDP find itself in today, calls for principled and open-minded individuals like Dr Nasha to help the party. He said Dr Nasha could have assisted the women within the party to believe in themselves and contest for leadership positions within the party and other high profile national positions.
Seabo said the utterance by the BDP regarding Dr Nasha’s defection is “just cheap political shenanigans. This shows the BDP is in denial. That was just a way of diverting attention from its problems. The party should have sat down with Dr Nasha and asked her what could be done regarding things that she felt were not being done properly. The party should treat this as a challenge and work on addressing such concerns.”Another Political Analyst, Leonard Sesa advised that each party should jealously guard against what it has. “The numbers that they have they should ensure that they do not lose any of their members. The aim should be to lure more members into their fold. The BDP should be worried and the utterances by the party chairman were unfortunate,” Sesa stated.
He explained that politics is a game of numbers and even if one person leaves the party, there has to be concern.Sesa said given the current political dynamics he would advise all the political parties to be more worried when their members defect.
He is of the opinion that given Dr Nasha’s calibre, the BDP should be more concerned as compared to attracting maybe five people who could unfortunately not match Dr Nasha.UDC Secretary General Ndaba Gaolathe said in a media statement that Dr. Nasha’s decision to finally put to bear her vast political skill and governance experience as part of a national movement to secure a new Botswana, a Botswana in which all citizens will believe that they can become anything they wished to become if they applied themselves diligently and creatively, “is a watershed moment not only in the history of the UDC but also in the political journey of the country.”
He stated that Dr Nasha’s exquisite talents and credentials are compelling, and add further depth to the personnel and capabilities that the UDC intends to cultivate towards both the securing of a win in the next general elections and the subsequent formation of a new people’s Government in 2019.
“Although Dr Nasha had pleaded to join as an ordinary member and activist, she has been prevailed upon to take on, given her experience, the role of advisor to the key offices at the level of the UDC and at contracting party levels, an assignment we are confident she will dispatch with distinction.”