Convenors of opposition negotiations have rubbished allegations that the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) displayed “inflexibility or selfishness” at the negotiations table.
Lebang Mpotokwane and Emang Maphanyane say nothing has derailed the negotiating teams currently discussing the allocation of constituencies and wards to their respective parties within the “umbrella” model in preparation for the 2014 elections.
“We categorically deny that the BMD negotiators displayed inflexibility or selfishness at any stage of the negotiations on this matter. What happened was that all the negotiating teams bargained as hard as they could in an effort to achieve their respective objectives, which was to be expected in any negotiations, given the importance of the subject to all four parties,” the conveners say in a joint media statement.
This came after media reports that the BMD was making unreasonable demands of 27 constituencies, something that the party has vehemently denied, saying it was only interested in 22 constituencies.
The convenors say all of the negotiating parties still fully recognised the dire need for them to cooperate genuinely in the run-up to 2014 and beyond.
“It is, therefore, inconceivable that any of them would want to do anything that might jeopardise such cooperation,” they said.
The convenors have observed that owing to problems caused by unsubstantiated press reports in 2006 negotiations this led in part to the eventual collapse of the negotiations.
“The negotiators have decided to conduct their contacts with the media through press statements issued jointly by the leaders of the negotiating teams and the conveners of the negotiations, press briefings conducted by the team leaders and the conveners and press releases by and interviews with the conveners.
They advise the public to give no credence to any other sources quoted by the media regarding the negotiations.
“Such sources will usually have one of only two objectives: either to damage the image of one or more of the negotiating parties, or to wreck the negotiations,” according to Mpotokwane and Maphanyane.
The Botswana Congress Party, the BMD, the Botswana National Front and the Botswana Peoples Party are currently negotiating the allocation of constituencies and council wards amongst themselves.