Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has finally written to Umbrella for Democratic Change declaring their readiness to commence the cooperation talks, Botswana Guardian can reveal.
Following countrywide consultations with its 14 regions, BCP leadership has been given the green light to engage with the UDC. Botswana Guardian understands that BCP lawyers have prepared two documents that the UDC has been furnished with. The documents are a letter declaring preparedness to begin the cooperation talks and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) proposal for by-elections in the build-up to 2019 general election.
BCP information and Publicity Secretary, Dithapelo Keoraptse confirmed in an interview on Wednesday that they have formally communicated to the UDC regarding the cooperation talks. “As the BCP we are ready to commence the talks anytime at the most convenient time for both parties. The Central Committee met after the completion of the consultation to discuss the issue and the executive committee then also met recently where a decision was taken to write to the UDC,” he said.
Keorapetse who is also a Member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe West said his party has also prepared a MoU document proposal, which has been handed to the UDC. The contents of both the letter and the MOU proposal are currently confidential, he said.
“We cannot go into details of the letter for cooperation and the MOU. The media and public can only know the MoU proposal draft after our friends from the UDC have made their input and we both finalise the MoU. So for now the document has to remain confidential. But what I can say is that the MoU is a much improved one as compared to the previous ones that we had as opposition parties,” he stated.
BCP expressed its interest to cooperate with the UDC during the former’s Kanye congress in July this year. The congress resolved that the party should engage the UDC for cooperation talks. The duo after the by-election for Goodhope-Mabule Constituency in August this year entered a gentleman’s agreement for cooperation in all the by-elections that will occur before the 2019 general election.
UDC Spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa declined to comment on the issue. “We are not going to say anything regarding that issue until we have met and had discussions with the BCP,” Mohwasa stated. The cooperation talks are said to be poised for a good start as activists and other party leaders are seen at both parties’ political engagements. BCP President Dumelang Saleshando recently addressed a rally in Mahalapye where Botswana National Front (BNF) was celebrating its 50th Anniversary.
BNF is a contracting member of the UDC alongside Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana Peoples Party. The UDC and the BCP are also expected to hold a joint political rally this weekend in Gaborone.