Botswana Democratic Party
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been enjoying state power since Independence (1966), all thanks to disorganized and fragmented opposition. Though it has been enjoying state power, it’s popular vote has been declining. During the first general election in 1965, the party garnered a whooping Eighty point four percent (80.4%) overall popular vote, the popular vote decreased until it dropped below Sixty percent in 1994. Since then BDP’s popular vote has been swimming below Sixty percent (60%). The BDP was founded in November 1961 by Sir. Seretse Khama and Sir. Ketumile Q.J Masire.
Botswana National Front
Founded in 1965 after BDP’s first and greatest victory by Dr. Kenneth Koma, the initial goal of the BNF was to reunite the various strands of the Botswana People’s Party (BPP), which had experienced a split in 1963–1964. BNF was growing quite well, its greatest performance was in 1994 when it won Thirteen out of Forty (13/40) Parliamentary seats- that was Thirty-six point ninety-four percent (36.94%) popular vote. However, in 1998, the party had internal factional battles which led to the formation of Botswana Congress Party (BCP). In 1999 general elections, BNF acquired Twenty-five point ninety-five percent (25.95%) popular vote. The next election in 2004, BNF recorded a slight improvement with Twenty-six point zero six percent (26.06%) popular vote. The last election which BNF contested as a stand-alone party was in 2009 general elections where it got Twenty-one point ninety-four percent (21.94%) popular vote.
Botswana Congress Party
As earlier mentioned, BCP was founded in 1998 after BNF internal factional battles. Under it’s founding President- Michael Dingake, BCP won only One Parliamentary seat with Eleven point ninety percent (11.90%) popular vote. In the run-up to 2014 elections, BCP merged with Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM), and garnered Twenty point Forty-three percent (20.43%) popular vote. That was BCP’s last election as a stand-alone party.
Alliance for Progressives
Alliance for Progressives (AP) was formed in 2017 by Ndaba Gaolathe as a breakaway party from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). BMD which is the first breakaway party from the BDP in 2010, had internal fights and that led to the formation of AP. The party contested the 2019 general elections as a stand-alone party and came out with One Member of Parliament and Five point twelve percent (5.12%) popular vote.
Botswana Patriotic Front
Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is the second breakaway party from the BDP. It was founded in 2019 amid tensions between the former President His Excellency Lt. Gen. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama and his successor His Excellency President Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K Masisi. The party’s first President is Biggie Ganda Butale, with its patron as the former President Khama. Most popular in the central district, and particularly Serowe where its patron is a chief, the BPF won Three (3) Parliamentary seats in the 2019 general elections. All of the seats came from Serowe constituencies with an overall popular vote of Four point forty-one percent (4.41%).
In 2019 general elections, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) was made up of BNF, BCP and BPP. That came after the BMD was expelled while having its factional battles. In preparation for 2024 general elections we are yet to see if all the opposition parties will contest under the UDC. Meanwhile, according to the statistics from the history of Botswana general elections, the BDP performs better when it is its leader’s first election. It is up to the opposition to capitalize on the current flaws by the BDP president, and build momentum ahead of 2024 general elections.