The leader of Umbrella for Democratic Change, Duma Boko performed better than many had given him a chance on issues of economic policy, industrialization, citizen economic empowerment and freedom of expression.
In the first of two rounds of Presidential debates organized by Gabz FM and also televised on e-Botswana, Boko started by saying that contrary to what Saleshando was saying that Botswana does not have a policy, there is such a policy.
It was the beginning of what turned out to be a sparring match of two intellectual giants.
Boko said the only problem with Botswana’s current foreign policy is that the current government under Ian Khama has veered off that policy as established by the founding President, Seretse Khama and developed by Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae.
He blamed the current BDP government of punching above its weight on matters of international relations.
Saleshando had started by pointing that under the BCP, Botswana will have a codified foreign policy, put together in one document.
Boko said there was no need for such a document since precepts already existed which guides the country’s international relations.
Among some of the values informing that policy, said Boko were human rights, democracy and observance of international law. The UDC government will only enrich and deepen those principles, he said.
Saleshando maintained that even the current government recognized that its own foreign policy was defective in that it was not codified.
Boko insisted that codifying it would not help if the regime was itself bent of violating the broad values.
Throughout the two hour debate the two leaders offered divergent views on what each party stood for.
While Boko was often eager to acknowledge similarities between BCP and UDC because as he put it, the BCP is a splinter of the BNF, which is one of the parties making the UDC, Saleshando was for a greater part determined and unwilling to accept any existence of similarities between the two.
There was however in overall not marked difference between the performances of the two men.
Saleshando excelled on economic policy while Boko was more versatile on foreign and immigration policies.
Saleshando often came across as frustrated and detached.
“We need to bring certainty and predictability to our immigration policy. President Khama has deported more people than all the other previous presidents put together,” said Boko.
Boko will hope to benefit from his gracious and less combative posture which portrayed him as more of statesman than Saleshando.
During his closing remarks Boko paid glowing tribute to Saleshando for putting up a “formidable” campaign which he said will help this country in the end.
Additionally he also paid tribute to a galaxy of such past political leaders from across the spectrum like Sir Seretse Khama, Motsamai Mpho, Phillip Matante, K.T Motsete and Kenneth Koma.
His own abortion, he said was nation building.