A new twist to the dynamics of opposition cooperation has developed with the Botswana National Front (BNF) calling for the position of the Leader of Opposition to alternate between them and the Botswana Movement for Democracy since they currently have an equal number of Members of Parliament in the house. Speaking on the behalf of the Botswana Movement for Democracy, party spokesperson, Merapelo Letebele, stated that the BMD sees nothing wrong with this suggestion seeing as they do have “tie” and both parties are entitled to the position. However, the Speaker of Parliament, Margret Nasha, indicated that, “If there is no outright majority Opposition Party members usually elect the leader.”
Though she did not rule out the suggestion as a possibility, she stated that further research would have to be done regarding this matter as it has never occurred in Botswana. At a meeting recently called after the collapse of “The Umbrella” negotiations towards the end of last year, the BNF also suggested that, “there should be resumption of Opposition Cooperation along the Umbrella Model as the Party believes that a solution to the problems that led to the collapse of the Talks can be found. The Talks should include all the parties that were in the project before it collapsed last year.”
The statement further stated that they are “Acknowledging the problems that exist between the BMD and BCP which are characterized by unpleasant exchanges between the leadership of the two and their members, the committee committed the BNF to engaging in reconciliatory interventions to reconcile the differences between the BMD and BCP”. Botswana Congress Party Spokesperson, Taolo Lucas, stated that, “No party should claim the moral high ground.”
According to Lucas, all four parties are responsible for the collapse of the umbrella and he stated that there is no animosity between the BMD and BCP even though “unfortunate statements” had been made. Regarding the resuscitation of the umbrella, the Botswana Movement for Democracy indicated at a press conference last week that they are fully committed towards the umbrella just as the BNF claims in their statement.
The BCP, however, according to Lucas, has taken recommendations made by BOFEPUSO into consideration and are still consulting with their membership on whether or not to proceed with umbrella talks.