About 3000 members of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are expected to jump ship and join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
UDC expressed certainty that 1500 BCP members in the Boteti constituency approached their offices seeking UDC membership. About 550 are expected in Selibe West and East, 300 in Ramotswa Constituency, and 500 members in Kgalagadi.
Speaking at a rally held in Gabane at the weekend, UDC youth league president Phenyo Segokgo said Batswana sent a clear message through their votes that opposition cooperation was the only way to bring change.
“Batswana have sent a message that Umbrella for Democratic Change is the answer going forward. Their votes simply acknowledge the importance of opposition cooperation and its determination to bring change,” he said.
Segokgo also said BCP councillors have assured the UDC of their cooperation and support at council level.
“The UDC has a majority in most of the councils. For example in the south East Council the BCP has seven councillors and we as the UDC have nine while the BDP has only four. If we work together with the BCP we will together lead the South East Council,” he said.
UDC is certain that the BCP councillors will cooperate and they are going to support each other in a bid to represent the interests of Batswana.
“They have already assured us of their support. They said to us that if their President Dumelang Saleshando does not find ways to the Umbrella then they will leave him to his party and join the UDC,” Segokgo said.
BCP councillors say they expected the leadership to address the issue of opposition coalition in Palapye at the weekend. However, that is not the agenda of the Palapye conference.
Speaking to The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity, a BCP councillor said time is ripe to address the issue of opposition coalition.
“The writing is on the wall; we all know why we did not perform well in the past general elections. Sitting here wasting time trying to find what went wrong is not going to help going forward. We already have answers right in front of us. Let’s act now,” he said.
The councillor said he does not understand why their leader is failing to admit that he underestimated the Umbrella, or to swallow his pride and start the talks on cooperation.
“This thing that he says about working with a combined opposition outside the Umbrella model can never bring any results for the BCP. I am not in any way undermining the leadership of the BCP; all I am saying is, look the clock is ticking let’s start now; we really do not have time to waste saying we still want to find out what went wrong, we all know what went wrong. What is left for us is to start making our ways to the Umbrella.”
The councillor added that if Saleshando is not careful, he will find himself walking on the muddy path alone in 2019.