Leader of the Opposition, Botsalo Ntuane, has announced that he will soon convene a meeting of opposition party legislators to decide on who will be the Leader of the Opposition ahead of next month’s sitting of Parliament.
As it stands, the opposition Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD) and the Botswana National Front (BNF) are understood to be each lobbying for the position ahead of the November parliament.
Currently, there is a tie as BMD and BNF each have six MPs thus creating a vacancy for the position of leader of the opposition. The BCP, which is seen as the power broker, has 5 MPs.
“I, in my capacity as chair of the opposition caucus, will convene a meeting soon at which the BMD,BCP and BNF will settle on who should assume the reigns as Leader of the Opposition in time for the November session of Parliament,” Ntuane told the Sunday Standard on Friday.
He said that so far he has managed to Telephone and communicate with all opposition MPs as part an effort to arrange for the meeting, which he said is expected to be held in Gaborone in just about two weeks time or earlier.
Ntuane further said that his party was expected to meet soon to discuss the issue before the opposition caucus meeting.
“In the interim before the opposition caucus, I as a BMD deployee will be engaging my party on the matter but I am certain the opposition caucus will have a final say with regards to the position of Leader of Opposition, as indeed is their right,” said Ntuane.
Contenders for this position are Ntuane and BNF’s Vice President, Isaac Mabiletsa.
It is understood that some members of the BNF central committee, perhaps sensing that the issue has the potential to soil relations between opposition parties, have suggested for their party not to challenge BMD for the position.
Others are of the view that the BNF could lose the race if it contests since BCP MPs are more likely to support BMD than the BNF.
However, although he acknowledges that his party welds the deciding card in this race, BCP’s publicity secretary, Taolo Lucas, wants BNF and BMD to come up with a consensus candidate.
“We are going to suggest at this meeting for the two parties to resolve the issue through consensus among themselves,” said Lucas.
Lucas said that the BCP was of the view that the issue should not be resolved through the ballot.
“Voting for Leader of Opposition at this material time may not help to promote the spirit of opposition cooperation in the long run,” said Lucas.
At the time of going to press, the BNF’s publicity Secretary, Moeti Mohwasa, was not available for comment.