Opposition talks sealed

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Opposition talks sealed

Cooperation talks between Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) are said to have been completed following a meeting of the constituency allocation Task Team this week Wednesday.

Botswana Guardian can safely reveal that the Task Team which was deliberating on Mmopane-Lentsweletau and Kanye North Constituencies which were the only ones outstanding, met on Wednesday morning in Gaborone at BOFEPUSU offices. BOFEPUSU has been one of the instrumental institutions that have called for cooperation between opposition parties since 2011, which calls culminated in the formation of UDC. Leaders from BCP and UDC contracting members- Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) convened a meeting, which lasted until lunchtime to resolve the issue. Indications are that the committee will brief the leadership of both parties and the final decision will be made by the party leaders Dumelang Saleshando (BCP) and Duma Boko (UDC) after which an announcement on the outcome of the talks is likely to be made before end of next week.

The Wednesday meeting was attended by among others BNF Vice President Prince Dibeela, BMD chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi, BCP Vice President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, Secretary General Kentse Rammidi and Akanyang Magama and BPP Secretary General Botho Seboko. Sources close to the talks have revealed that other committees being that of the Constitution, Policy and Governance have wrapped up their negotiations as mandated and only the Constitution committee was left behind due to the outstanding two constituencies -Mmopane/Lentsweletau and Kanye North.

He said that everything would be in place next week Wednesday, which was set for conclusion of the talks. Both BCP and BMD under the Umbrella wanted Mmopane-Lentsweletau. BCP also wanted Kanye North which BNF also expressed interest in. The negotiating parties were sent back to return on Wednesday this week to motivate their argument for demanding the constituencies. Both constituencies were won by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The BCP has argued that it was a runner-up in the 2014 general elections after BDP. Contention by the UDC contracting members is that when added up with those of their members who contested the elections as independent candidates, their numbers surpass those of the BCP thus giving them an upper hand to be given the constituencies.

It is not yet clear what the negotiation parties agreed on Wednesday.  Resolution to this matter is regarded as a milestone since the two parties could not agree on constituencies prior to the 2014 elections which resulted in BCP going all alone in the elections. Constituency allocation has been the stumbling block preventing the duo from working together. BCP and UDC have through their Publicity Secretaries indicated in media statements that any issue regarding the talks would be communicated at the right time. After the announcement of the completion of the talks the parties are expected to notify their various structures and start their campaigns for 2019 and sell their policies to the populace.

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