The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has announced it is willing to work with the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to oust the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from power.
Party President, Dumelang Saleshando, has announced he would open talks with UDC President Duma Boko to access how the BCP can assist the UDC in constituencies in which they (BCP) are not fielding any candidates.
The BCP says it is prepared to do a joint campaign with the UDC provided the modalities of assisting each other are clearly spelt out.
The announcement was made at a press conference held on Monday at President Hotel.
The BCP says its target is to win 29 constituencies.
“In all areas where the BCP is not fielding any candidates we will support other opposition parties,” said the BCP leader.
He said that the party does not want a repeat of what happened during the Letlhakeng by-election where it was accused of sabotage. He said its offer to assist UDC where the BCP is not contesting is not conditional and it would be up to UDC to accept or decline the offer.
So far the party has confirmed a handful of constituencies it will contest during the October polls. The party says that its next batch of primaries will be on February 15.
With the party yet to identify constituencies that it will not contest, it is still unclear how the BCP is prepared to do a joint campaign with UDC.
Saleshando also called on party members to exercise restraint and to avoid using abusive language when engaging with opponents.
“It is the BDP we need to wrestle power from and not the UDC,” he said, adding that he had observed that the social media had turned into a forum where members trade insults instead of genuine debate.
The BCP leader said that the party was elated to welcome its first-ever female legislator elected to join parliament.
He said that as a lawmaker, Dr Habaudi Hubona’s expertise as a medical professional would come in handy given the health sector’s crisis. Hubona is expected to be sworn in as a member of parliament on the February 3 during the budget session of parliament.
Saleshando has also defended the poor showing at the Francistown by-election arguing that most by-elections are characterised by low voter turnout. He also said although the situation was disturbing the ruling BDP had made things worse by postponing the polls through a fraudulent petition.
“All by-elections are have registered a low voter turnout…we shall therefore celebrate our victory without regret or apology,” he said.
The party says that its campaign on the upcoming general elections will be focused on the economy, education, labour, health, land and housing as well as emphasis on democracy and governance.