Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe this week met his counterpart from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) for an “informal” discussion.
Information reaching this publication indicates that the meeting that was held at Falcon Crest on Tuesday night between Gaolathe and BMD leader Advocate Sidney Pilane was one of Gaolathe’s informal meetings with opposition leaders to establish a working relationship.
BMD Spokesperson Rasina Winfred Rasina confirmed the meeting but would not be drawn into discussing it further with the media. He said a press statement would be released to that effect. Gaolathe also confirmed the meeting adding that it is all part of an initiative to open dialogue channels with all political players regardless of “how we may feel about them”.
However, he said these discussions are informal and are no part of any systematic discussion about alliances. “Our message to all political players who wish to discuss formally and meaningfully with our movement is that we already have an established practice of recognising the original conveners as the rightful platform for any discussion,” he said.
Since its formation last year, AP has not come out clear as to when it will engage other parties. Instead it said that as a new party it was still building its structures. Last month Gaolathe revealed that he has been having informal talks with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando and Botswana National Front (BNF) President Advocate Duma Boko and President of Botswana People’s Party (BPP) Motlatsi Molapisi.
All the three parties are contracting members of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). He indicated that he has not yet met Advocate Pilane but said he would do so soon.
AP broke away from BMD following a bloodbath elective congress in Bobonong last July. And ever since then the AP has maintained that it would not be part of a UDC which has Advocate Pilane or the BMD.
The argument was that such UDC would not be sharing the same ideology as the AP.
Gaolathe, who is also MP for Gaborone Bonnington South, pointed out that the conveners have proven to be trustworthy and credible. He said they can be trusted for their commitment to the aspiration of a collective and united voice for a new Botswana.
With the current divisions within the UDC which have pitted BMD and BPP against BNF and BCP, stakes could be high if BMD and BPP could get sympathy from AP.
The BPP and BMD together with old UDC conveners are now fighting in the same corner against BCP and BNF.