look | Ian Khama ridicules Botswana’s ruling party for losing by-election to opposition

  • Umbrella has won a by-election for Democratic Change, a coalition of three political parties in Botswana.
  • Former President Ian Khama in a Facebook video ridiculed the ruling BDP for losing it.
  • However, the victorious coalition has problems associated with issues of cooperation and governance.

Former Botswana President Ian Khama has ridiculed the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) after it lost a weekend by-election to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

A political analyst, Selo Motseta, said the by-election result was an indicator that a coalition of opposition parties could stand a chance of ousting the ruling BDP in the future.

The UDC won the Moselevapula polling district with 339 votes, slightly ahead of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with 334 votes.

BDP finished last with a disappointing performance of 110 votes.

The UDC is a tripartite coalition of the Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana People’s Party (BPP) and the BCP that was formed before the 2019 general elections.

“However, it is clear that a united opposition will pose a major threat to the ruling BDP,” Motseta told News24.

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Following the announcement of the results, former Botswana president and now opposition leader Ian Khama, who is believed to be in South Africa, celebrated the result in a video posted to his Facebook account.

In the video, a group of men can be seen dancing.

Ian Khama is touring South Africa.

Ian Khama.

Getty Images Ron Sachs-Pool, Getty Images

Later, Khama is seen joining them and they alternately don a red T-shirt, which symbolizes the colors of the ruling BDP. He is seen wearing a yellow shirt, the colors of the UDC and a yellow cap with Make Botswana Great Again written on it.

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Khama, a member of the now-disbanded Botswana Patriotic Front, congratulated the UDC on its victory.

“Congratulations to the UDC on your current victory in the by-election. It is clear that Batswana supports the People’s Project.

“Your level of dedication, hard work and commitment has given us victory and hope for a better Botswana. Com Gift Nandanyala Tebo, this is your opportunity to do something good for Botswana; work hard, serve and make a difference. K Nako [Now’s the time],

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While Khama made it a big deal, Motsetta argued that it was too early to conclude what the latest result meant for the political landscape.

“Therefore, it is too early to say with certainty what impact these elections will have on the overall picture of Botswana,” he said.

Coalition governments are a relatively new phenomenon in Africa. In countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Benin and Kenya, joint opposition parties had to form legislative coalitions to gain parliamentary majority.

It is also possible in Botswana, but there are UDC, BPP and BCP fractures.

“While the Opposition Council will be buoyed by this strong performance in the by-election results, it should be noted that the opposition UDC and BCP are currently embroiled in a fractious dispute over issues of the nature of cooperation and governance within themselves that are likely to be derailed. There is a possibility of a grand alliance before the next general elections,” Motsetta said.

General elections will be held in Botswana in 2024.

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The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hans Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through Africa Desk and the opinions and statements contained therein do not reflect those of the Hans Seidel Foundation.

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