A section of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is putting together a delegation that will be tasked with persuading party President Gomolemo Motswaledi to contest the Gaborone Central Constituency against Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando should umbrella talks collapse.
The umbrella talks are reported to be on the brink of collapse as the BCP and BMD will not agree on the issue of incumbency. Sources close to the BMD revealed this week that there is a growing body of opinion that should BCP Vice President Lepetu Setshwaelo challenge the BMD incumbent MP for South East District, Odirile Motlhala, and BCP’s Vain Mamela insists on taking on BMD’s Wynter Mmolotsi in Francistown West, the BMD should also field candidates in constituencies currently held by the BCP.
The BMD is reported to have identified prominent businessman David Mosweu to challenge BCP’s Gibson Nshingwe for the Chobe constituency while former Member of Parliament, Vista Moruti, will challenge BCP’s Bagalatia Aaron.
Meanwhile, a member of the Botswana National Front (BNF) negotiating team has suggested that the negotiating parties, currently stuck over constituencies, should consider dissolving their parties and going for primaries under the Umbrella banner.
A confidential position paper authored by lawyer Tshiamo Rantao expresses worry that the envisaged cooperation talks might just collapse if no head way is made in the distribution of constituencies.
The position paper, which has been passed to the Sunday Standard, expresses worry over media reports on the ongoing cooperation talks and argues that the reports are ‘denting the credibility of the talks’.
“We, as the BNF, must act responsibly in the mist of the perceived acrimony for the sake of Batswana. We must lead the other parties to righteousness, the latter being where Batswana desire to be, failing which history will judge us harshly,” he states.
According to Rantao, if the stalemate over constituencies persists the BNF should consider alternative ways to facilitate cooperation by 2014.
“In my considered view, the attempt to have the parties, especially the BNF, Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to agree amongst themselves on how to share constituencies is like pouring water in a hollow bucket.”
He opines that as long as the parties negotiate among themselves the impasse over constituencies will not end and suggests for the conveners to be given a much more active role.
He says that to avoid ‘unnecessary hostility’ the conveners should listen to each part’s proposals independently and thereafter make recommendations on what they think based on each party’s presentation.
If this fails, Rantao says ‘then the parties should consider registering the envisaged umbrella party and thereafter, holding primary elections for all positions under the banner of the Umbrella, not the individual parties where any member can try their luck’.
He says that despite fears being divisive, expensive and time consuming, primary elections are for the parties an advantage because they will not earn much criticism.
“The BDP is likely to argue that we cannot suggest that it is undemocratic in its hand-picking National Executive Committee when we are worse than it by imposing on the electorates election candidates. Besides, Batswana would generally feel that they have had a say in the new party,” the paper read in part.
So far the bilateral talks amongst the parties have collapsed for the second time.