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Botswana People's Party

Botswana Democratic Party Umbrella for Democratic Change Politics of Botswana
Botswana People's Party
LeaderMotlatsi Molapisi
Secretary-GeneralOnalenna Chabaya
FounderKgalemang T. Motsete
Founded1960
HeadquartersShango house, Francistown
IdeologyDemocratic socialism
Pan-Africanism
Political positionLeft-wing
National affiliationUmbrella for Democratic Change

The Botswana People's Party (BPP), originally the Bechuanaland People's Party, is a political party in Botswana formed in December 1960 during the colonial era. As a result of disappointment with the Legislative Council, under the leadership of Kgalemang T. Motsete, an accomplished music composer and educationist, BPP became the first mass party to agitate for full independence.

Motsamai Mpho, who had been tried for treason under the Union of South Africa Terrorism Act, was the secretary general. Internal dissension during the first national elections in 1965 resulted in a schism and the birth of the Bechuanaland Independence Party (now Botswana Independence Party) under Mpho's leadership. Motsete attempted to retain a small group of the BPP's old guard but lost power to Phillip Matante. The first general elections were held in March 1965, and the Bechuanaland Democratic Party (now Botswana Democratic Party) won a landslide victory, taking 28 of the 31 contested seats. BPP won three seats.

History

The party was formed in 1960 as the Bechuanaland People's Party under the leadership of Motsete, Matante and Mpho.[1] The party's formation was indirectly stimulated by the flow of South African exiles following the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960. The party's structure was based on the African National Congress (ANC), but infighting quickly plagued the party. The party became an opposition party to the traditionalist Botswana Democratic Party, then led by Seretse Khama.[2]

Motsete had political exposure and influence from the Pan-Africanism and South African political liberation movements, namely the ANC and the Pan African Congress (PAC). Kwame Nkruma and Ghanaian independence further influenced the BPP. The main objective of the party was to liberate the people of the Bechuanaland Protectorate from colonialism; this objective was achieved in September 1966 when the country became independent.

Matante was the first president of BPP. He became the first member of parliament for Francistown and the leader of the opposition during independence in 1966. Matante's death created a power vacuum that led to the reversal of many of the gains that the party had made. In the 2014 general elections the BPP was granted six northern constituencies under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), as the north had historically been a BPP stronghold, but lost each one of them. The party's goal became to rebrand for the 2019 elections by establishing youth structures and regaining interest in the party under the leadership of president Mbaakanyi Smart.[3]

BPP always advocated for opposition unity. In 1989, they had a working relationship with the now defunct Botswana Progressive Party. They were part of the Botswana Alliance Movement and PACT and joined the UDC. However, BPP continues to advocate for a complete merger of opposition parties, primarily because these pacts have proved to be fragile and prone to defections. Their #RonaKoBPP social media hash tag received recognition across social media platforms.

The party held its 50th elective congress under the theme "Proud of the Past, Confident of the Future", where a new National Executive Committee was elected. For the first time it included people from all parts of the country in an attempt to nationalize the party, weakening the perception that the BPP serves only Botswana in the north.

Principles

BPPs principles are:

The BPP motto is "Lefatshe la Rona", "Shango Yedu", and "Ilizwe nge lethu!"

References

  1. ^ "EISA Botswana: Political party formation and independence (1958-1966)". www.eisa.org.za. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  2. ^ The New States of Southern Africa by J.T. Spence in The Journal of Modern African Studies, December 1967[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ correspondent, Kushatha Tabengwa - NE. "BPP Youth vow to rebrand their party - Botswana Guardian". Retrieved 2017-11-09.