Tumiso Chilliboy Rakgare, a parliamentary candidate for Mogoditshane in the 2004 general elections, has challenged the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to first clear Dumelang Saleshando’s name before any cooperation talks can proceed.
Rakgare challenged the UDC to provide evidence of their claim that Saleshando was doing business with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
“Our hope is that those within the UDC who have been accusing our president of doing business with the BDP will come out clearly and present their evidence┬á before we can begin any ┬ánegotiations on opposition cooperation,” Rakgare said.
“We are saying to the elders of the UDC; please clear our president’s name before we can go to the negotiation table.”
He added that clearing Saleshando’s name should be the first step towards cooperation talks and vowed that the BCP youth will not allow their president to negotiate with a party that has accused him of doing business with BDP.
“It will be silly as young people of this movement to allow our president to negotiate with the UDC when at the same time he has been accused of doing business with the BDP. Let’s clear this issue first before we go far. Young generations are looking unto us and we do not want to start on a foundation that is plagued by lies,” he said.
Responding to a question from The Telegraph on whether his demands will not delay cooperation talks, Rakgare said: “We still have time; five years is a lot of time. We do not want a situation where Saleshando will be seen as a burden if we initiate talks with UDC. He must not be seen as a suspicious leader who has done business with the enemy.”
The BCP said they have done their best to explain the issue and now it’s time for UDC to provide evidence and clear Saleshando’s name.
┬á“As the young people of the BCP we request Saleshando and the BCP leadership not to take part in the negotiations until the UDC clears Saleshando’s name.”
The BCP youth also demanded that the UDC should tell the nation that the accusation that BCP was shunning opposition talks was not true.
“The UDC has constantly accused BCP of shunning the Umbrella. It’s high time that they present before Batswana evidence to support their accusations levelled against the BCP.”
BCP says Batswana deserve nothing else but the truth. “We have provided evidence that we never shunned the Umbrella. We only requested for more time to consult our members, but it was clear that the Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) chose to continue with the project without the BCP.”
“We are grooming the young generation into politics and we do not want them believe that the foundation of politics is lies. We are for clean politicking. We say let’s compete with ideas and stop peddling lies about others.”