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UDC spurns BCP overtures

FRANCISTOWN: Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa has dismissed Botswana Congress Partys (BCP) commitment to engage UDC in cooperation talks as a mere spin.

Smarting from its Leadership Forum held in Palapye over the weekend, the BCP recommended amongst others, “upon completing its elections evaluation exercise, the party will engage the UDC and other opposition formations with a view to explore appropriate models of cooperation to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).”

The BCP also recommended that it would work with other opposition parties in both local council and parliament. In an interview yesterday, Mohwasa was steadfast that at best, “we regard the position of the BCP as a spin to keep people hoping that there will be discussions when in actual fact they are not committed.”

He indicated that there was not much they are saying as the BCP claimed it needed to be given time to reflect, introspect and chart the way forward. But he warned that in as much as they needed time to reflect, time is also an enemy as preparations for the 2019 general elections have already started.

Mohwasa observed that the UDC could not put the BCP under any pressure as they are an independent entity, “but if it makes sense to them that they want to go solo, they will be given the space they deserve.”

He reminisced that when the talks commenced before the BCP pulled out, they had started with the options of a pact and umbrella models. He said attorneys were engaged to look at a model that could be legally acceptable and the umbrella was favoured, hence the UDC.

He explained that although the UDC was registered as a political organisation, it’s a movement that will help the parties in coalition, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) to attain state power. ‘The BCP should not account to the UDC,” said Mohwasa and added: “As much as

they took a decision to contest the October 24 general elections they may still do so, if they find such a move viable.”

He reiterated that under no circumstances should the BCP be put under pressure to join the UDC, “and there is no way the UDC could put them under any form of pressure.” Responding to allegations that the BCP position on opposition cooperation might simply be a spin without any commitment to it, BCP secretary general Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang was outright in his dismissal of the allegations against his party.

“Our position on opposition cooperation is a solid thing and not a spin because as a party we previously benefitted from cooperation with other parties,” he stressed.

He revealed that the issue of opposition talks was not the main business that took the party to Palapye. “This is not the issue that took us to Palapye as the main thing was the evaluation of the October 24 general elections results,” he said and acknowledged that people have started lobbying for appropriate models of cooperation, which is acceptable in any political organisation. Amongst the models that people are debating include a pact, merger and the current form of UDC.

“It’s only the party congress next year July that will make a concrete decision on what form of opposition cooperation to follow,” he stated. Gobotswang is steadfast that the current model of umbrella was the BCP’s preference but it failed during the talks before the BCP pulled out. “As a party, we had agreed to the first model of umbrella and the only undoing thing was the allocation of constituencies as we could not agree with the BMD as our interests clashed. Since the BCP and BNF are regional parties, we agreed on the allocation of constituencies,” he explained.




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