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BCP, BNF nuptials of convenience feasible

BCP(members) and BNF supporters share the same concerns
BOBONONG: According to a political commentator, it is very feasible for the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana National Front (BNF) to smoothly form a coalition that will jointly contest the 2019 general elections.

There is, in fact, a very strong possibility that the BCP and BNF might contest the next general elections as a coalition.  This comes after a BCP conference resolved that it would consider forming a coalition with the BNF to contest the 2019 general election.

There is widespread belief that the BCP and BNF can harness more on their combined figures to mount a strong challenge against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at the 2019 general election. The BCP recently hinted that it would consider bilateral relations with the BNF in 2019 if the problems in the UDC were not resolved timely.

Saleshando told a media briefing after the conference on Monday that negotiations for a reconfigured opposition coalition with the BNF have to start forthwith while the problems within the UDC are being addressed.

There is widespread thought that the problems in the UDC might not be resolved in time and the differences over constituency, as well as ward allocations, may persist. In April this year, it was reported that a bilateral meeting between BCP and BNF central committees in Gaborone had agreed that the two parties should leave the UDC.

In recent months members of the BCP and BNF have also been pushing their parties to dump the UDC to work together. Political pundit, Anthony Morima yesterday highlighted that a coalition between the BCP and BNF is very feasible.

“I think the eagerness and desire of the two parties shows that they want to work together. 

I do not think there will be very vast differences between them if they want to work together in 2019 because coalitions are merely about contesting elections.  They are not usually about ideologies. A complete merger of parties is the only thing that can cause problems because it can mean tampering with

their ideologies and culture,” he said, adding that there may be more problems to surface when the two parties clinch power.

Morima added that he sees the UDC disbanding because the timeline given by the BCP and BNF in relation to resolving the feuding within the UDC is not attainable. “I do not think that the BMD will cede constituencies and wards that were initially allocated to them or agree that the revised UDC constitution, which they do not support be put in use. This ultimately means that differences within the UDC coalition partners will persist,” he said.

Morima added that the two parties have learnt from BCP’s experience in 2014 that going at it alone at the next general elections is not a wise move.

“They are the strongest opposition parties. They now know that they might pay a heavy price at the 2019 general election if they do not work together,” he said.

The BCP was humiliated at the last general elections after choosing to contest outside of the UDC.  Political analyst, Leonard Sesa last week also said that it is logical for the BNF and BCP to merge because they think alike and appear to share common interests on various issues of national interest.

He added that their members have appeared closer to each other of recent, which is a very important dimension if parties want to work together. Morima also highlighted that coalition talks between the BNF and BCP might have started behind the scenes a long time ago.

His reasoning is that it is too much of a coincidence that two parties took resolutions (at their recent conferences) that appear to be leading the UDC towards its collapse. The UDC conference resolved recently that all problems within the coalition should be resolved by mid-August.




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