The constituency deadlock between the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is over as the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is set to complete constituencies allocation this month.
UDC affiliates, AP and BPF’s stalemates were reported to have halted the negotiations but this week the Botswana National Front (BNF) chairperson Dr Patrick Molutsi revealed in an interview that the constituency allocation between the UDC cooperating parties will conclude before the end of this year. Molutsi stated that progress is being made in terms of the allocation of constituencies and that the process should be completed soon. He said all parties involved in the negotiations have reached an understanding and are committed to resolving any outstanding issues this month in order to have sufficient time for general election preparation next year. He emphasised that the negotiations took time due to the need for consultation with the parties’ structures. The BNF chairperson expressed confidence that things are going in the right direction. “We are feeling the pressure from our members to complete the negotiations as soon as possible.
The task team for constituency allocation has been meeting consistently over the past weeks to finalise the remaining issues. We will make an announcement once everything is complete,” Molutsi said. Mmegi has learnt that the constituencies that have stalled the talks are Francistown East, Bobonong, Lerala/Maunatlala, Tonota and Boteti East. Besides the five contended constituencies, the other thing that has stalled talks is negotiations over new constituencies that were necessitated by the delimitation exercise. After deserting cooperation talks with the BCP earlier this year to seek an alternate route with the UDC, the AP found itself in the same situation when they had to battle for five constituencies with the BPF. The AP dumped their talks in May this year after fighting with the BCP over seven constituencies.
When the AP joined the UDC cooperation talks, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) splinter party revealed then that they wanted to find ‘a horse that can pull through’ together towards the 2024 General Election. The AP president, Ndaba Gaolathe, then indicated that they were looking for an imperfect relationship with the 11-year-old opposition coalition. The BPF, on the other side, is said to have arrived late for the talks only to find other partners, the BNF, the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) and the AP in advanced stages. The BPF was reported to be demanding the majority of the constituencies held by the AP, an issue which led to the further delay of the talks. The BPF, after arriving late to the negotiation table, is said to have demanded most of the constituencies in the Central District and also extended their reach to the south where they do not have much footprint. The BPF has been in turmoil since last year with two powerful factions of the party incessantly at each other’s throats. Now according to Molutsi, it looks like the UDC has managed to save the talks just in time for the election year.