Sort out your mess

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Sort out your mess

Prospects of a possible working relationship between Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change for 2019 general elections are gradually fading, Botswana Guardian has established.

This follows a response letter by AP to the UDC on possibilities of working together after UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) resolved to invite the AP. AP has now put UDC in a tight corner in its response letter. According to a highly placed source within the AP executive, demands put forward are highly likely to see the two formations contesting the general elections on opposing camps. According to the source, AP has categorically told UDC that formal engagements must include conveners of the initial coalition negotiations that took place before the 2014 general elections.  The AP also has pointed out that it can only engage the UDC after the coalition has resolved its internal problems more importantly the pending legal suit by its expelled contracting member- Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

BMD was expelled from the UDC last year and the party consequently launched a legal suit for the reversal of the expulsion. AP has for a long time stood resolute that it would only engage in talks with like-minded organisations and those amenable to the engagement of original conveners of cooperation talks.

It is yet to be seen if UDC will agree to this condition since the coalition has maintained that the conveners have now been absorbed into the UDC NEC. When the UDC approached the AP last year it expressed hope that they would respond favourably to the advances.  However, this publication has gathered that Tuesday’s response letter has shattered UDC’s hopes. According to observers the only way out is for the UDC to agree for negotiations to be handled by original conveners.The UDC will also have to vigorously engage the AP and convince the less than a year-old political movement that the court case against BMD would not have any impact on their working relations.

AP split from the BMD following a bloodbath elective congress in Bobonong last year July. The case between BMD and UDC has not yet been given a date and speculations are that it could drag for far too long possibly beyond the general election. The case will be heard through normal court route and the applicants – BMD - have indicated that they are in no hurry to have the matter heard by court. AP Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale confirmed that they have responded to the UDC letter. Dr Butale who is also Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central would however not be drawn into discussing contents of the letter.

“We are jealously guarding against this process and would not want it to fall in wrong hands where our intentions by both parties would be compromised,” said Dr Butale.  UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa also confirmed Dr Butale’s assertions. He would also not be drawn into discussing the matter saying it is internal and the UDC leadership would soon meet to deliberate on it. He said information would be shared with the media and the public at the appropriate time and platform.

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