Tebelelo Seretse, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) national campaign manager has hit the ground running campaigning for the ruling party to retain power in three months’ time. The seasoned politician, business woman-cum-attorney is bubbling with confidence that there are some low hanging fruits that she can use to sell her party.
Key among these is the declaration of assets Bill, which is touted as an instrument to fight corruption, Seretse believes this will appeal to every Motswana desirious of justice. “If people had huge tenders, assets they must pay tax and declare where they are getting the assets”, she said. She says she’d be naïve to disregard the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) or any other opposition party as she feels the burden of their weight. “I think we can work hard enough as BDP foot soldiers,” she said, adding they’ll tap into their youth cadre depository to appeal to the young voters.
She is happy that billboards for all BDP MPs are up, vehicles have been allocated, and t-shirts are coming, she said, promising also to encourage individuals to appeal to business people. One of her calls is to look at the BDP voters’ rolls which were used for Bulela- Ditswe and match them to the IEC to help the party during house to house campaigns to focus more on those who are registered. In addition she said they are simplifying the manifesto and profiling the candidates so the campaign team can get to know who they are selling.
She said what makes this campaign easier is their chief campaigners - President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane - are easier people to sell. “Masisi has done quite a lot ever since he took power; he has embraced many organisations such as the media and unions. He has looked at things which people were worried about like EVMs, talking to the youth, and generally the country has a very positive vibe towards him”. For Seretse, the campaign involves physically visiting all the 57 and helping the strategy and communications team to ensure they are all in the same wavelength with the footsoldiers. She said they have also shifted from the complacency of yesteryear when certain areas were regarded as safe BDP constituencies.
Incumbency will also serve the party well, she said. As for opposition parties, they will treat all the same regardless of who heads which party. She is comforted by the fact that currently BPF has no face yet since they failed to elect a central committee during their recent congress in Kanye. She says this failure is indicative of an internal power struggle because as a new party they could simply announce their interim committee or their head. “Otherwise they have a hidden leader who does not want to be known to the nation”.
She is also intrigued that while all other parties have circulated their manifestos BPF has nothing to show with only four months before the national poll.As for BPF’s slogan ‘eseng mo go Kgosikgolo’, Seretse wonders which Kgosikgolo; of which tribe is being referred to. She argues that it’d be tantamount to bringing tribalism if the Kgosikgolo referred to in this slogan is of a particular tribe. This is because Bakgatla, Barolong, Batawana, Bakwena have their own Kgosikgolo, she said. “I personally have not heard us referring to Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane as motshwarela kgosikgolo. I have heard us calling him motshwarelela Bogosi jwa Kwa ga Bangwato, so maybe we have been wrong in our thinking”.
But if this be so, Seretse is adamant you cannot have your cake and eat it. “You are either in chieftainship where there are certain laws and code of conduct such as being political because you are a chief for everybody or a politician”. Seretse worries that politician speeches are not usually refined and that so far Khama has presented the picture of a politician.
She says he talks about himself; his benefits; how he is being ill-treated and not about any policy that will disadvantage Batswana. “I have not heard him cry about this is what the country is lacking,” she said citing the elephant numbers which is affecting many Batswana.Seretse says they need to unveil this issue to decide whether Khama is a politician, or a chief, although it seems from where he is standing now, he is not a chief because somebody is acting for him. As for BDP’s position on EVM, Seretse says it was stopped because it was introduced without any consultation.“If you read former Secretary General Botsalo Nuane’s interviews, you will see a struggle on what the BDP position was regarding the EVMs,” she said.