Reports that opposition parties are contemplating working together to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party has been dismissed as a ‘non starter’.
This week four opposition parties, namely the Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP) met in Gaborone to brainstorm on engaging each other and cooperating in the 2014 General Election.
The parties have already indicated that there are looking for someone to facilitate the talks.
However, the ruling BDP, which could lose state power if opposition parties work together in the next general elections, appears unmoved.
The BDP’s executive secretary, Dr Batlang Serema, has described opposition cooperation as a ‘sham’.
In an interview with The Telegraph over the issue, Serema said that his party was not threatened by opposition cooperation because the talks will not produce any results.
“We wish them all the luck; we are aware that their problems are insurmountable,” Serema said.
He said that it was not going to be an easy task, for instance, to allocate constituencies among opposition parties.
“Between Wynter Mmolotsi and Vain Mamela who is going to stand at Francistown South, which party is going to represent Ramotswa,” questioned Serema rhetorically.
Serema said that the BDP was not disturbed because the cooperation talks were a big task. He said it was disheartening to learn that a party like BMD, which did not have any policies, was already participating in the talks.
“This whole thing is a sham and it will not work,” argued Serema.
He said that the BDP is also part of the talks because the six BMD parliamentary seats were obtained through the BDP ticket.
He stressed that it is highly unlikely that the opposition parties will oust the ruling party from power.
In a separate interview, BDP’s secretary for Culture and Publicity Committee, Macdonald Pelotletse, argued that the fundamental differences that led to collapse of the first cooperation talks between the BNF, BCP, BPP and BAM had not been resolved.
“If there is going to be any cooperation, it will be sugar-coated; it’s unrealistic,” he told The Telegraph.
“In principle, as the BDP we welcome a very strong opposition, we get more united than ever and stronger than ever when faced with a strong opposition,” Pelotletse said.
He cited the recent Tonota-North by-election, which he said was a telling example of how opposition cooperation cannot oust the BDP.
He said that on its own the BDP was a threat to the opposition.
The four opposition parties have agreed to convene another meeting on November 30 this year. The parties have agreed that these consultative meetings shall be chaired by each party on a rotational basis. The BNF is expected to chair the next meeting scheduled for November.