The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) president Dumelang Saleshando has pleaded with members to allow the leadership to freely negotiate on opposition coalition.
Addressing the media yesterday, Saleshando explained that the negotiations between the BCP and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) had not started, but were likely to in the next month.
“We will brief our party structures during negotiations. Again it should be clear that we will be negotiating in good faith. We are not going to have terms and conditions but we expect a fair deal during the talks,” said Saleshando.
The BCP president said if allowed to perform their mandate, the party leadership could do better on behalf of their members. His hope is that the negotiators will look into certain factors like the strength of the BCP and its popular vote.
The BCP leader said contrary to belief, their central committee mandate to start opposition coalition negotiations has been renewed.
“I have consulted party structures and there is no structure which was against cooperation with opposition parties. This is the time for us to cooperate with other opposition parties if at all we want change of government,” he said.
But as of now, Saleshando said, there was no formal agreement on cooperation in the by-elections, but they expect BCP and UDC to sign a Memorandum of Agreement on that score by the end of this month.
For his part, the BCP secretary general Kentse Rammidi said they have started assisting the UDC in the Boswelatlou by-election in Lobatse.
“If one wants a marriage with someone, it is important that you start to assist the partner. Our work should show that indeed we want cooperation and we should work together,” said Rammidi.
He said over the weekend, he addressed a rally with former MP for Lobatse Nehemiah Modubule at Boswelatlou.
On other issues, the BCP president said the current crisis at the judiciary is very worrisome.
“As the BCP we believe that other issues are administrative and there was no need for the Chief Justice to have taken the matter to police.
Again it should be clear what criteria was used to suspend four judges, when in fact 12 judges had signed the petition letter. We will be following developments closely to see if our democracy is protected,” he said.