By Mpho Keleboge
Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) has said that it is ready to welcome back members of the Alliance for the Progressives (AP) into the coalition ahead of the 2019 general elections in an effort to wrestle power from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
This comes on the heels of a decision by the UDC to expel Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) from UDC. AP is an offshoot of the BMD and it was formed after BMD failed to hold a legitimate congress in Bobonong.
UDC Spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said they are ready to work with any opposition party because their main objective is to work as an opposition to give Botswana Democratic Party tough competition and ultimately remove them from power.
“We don’t have a problem with AP but we have been getting conflicting signals from them on the cooperation model. As UDC we are based on mutual respect regardless of the size of the party. What is important is the cooperation talks and their proposal letters in joining UDC. It depends on what they say which will not cause any conflict in the already existing constituency allocation,” said Mohwasa.
For his part, AP Secretary General Phenyo Butale who is currently on an official trip in Rwanda said any discussion around a relationship with the UDC or individual parties within the UDC remains the same and that the original conveners have already been given the mandate by the party (AP) to listen to submissions of interest for discussion.
“We do not believe that direct discussion with a UDC that is focused on resolving its internal issues is time more wisely spent than to continue with our current agenda of giving Botswana a clear option for an alternative party founded on a vision to transform the lives of our people and inspire by a value system of integrity, honest and respect of the sanctity of the human life,” said Butale.
Recently the Alliance for Progressives (AP) said the cooperation between it and Umbrella for Democratic Change is no longer viable. AP said as such they have no desire to engage in any talks with the UDC. Butale said if anything the AP would negotiate to individual parties that make up the UDC.
UDC includes four political parties being Botswana National Front, Botswana Congress Party, the Botswana Peoples Party and the expelled Botswana Movement for Democracy.
Butale was responding to a message by leader of Botswana Movement for Democracy Sidney Pilane who hinted that he has already started engaging with AP and also with trade union federation BOFEPUSU.
But Butale dismissed Pilane’s claims saying they are busy as AP in holding primary elections across the country.