Sunday, September 27, 2020

Opposition talks appear to be deadlocked

Opposition parties have, over the weekend, failed yet again to agree on the allocation of constituencies as the date for the conclusion of negotiations fast approaches.

The four political parties, the Botswana Congress Party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, the Botswana National front and the Botswana Peoples Party, seem to be failing to deliver the much anticipated Opposition Umbrella project.

One of the conveners, Lebang Mpotokwane, confirmed that there is still no agreement but says that is not to say the talks have collapsed.

“We are continuing with the talks until we find a way out,” Mpotokwane said.

Mpotokwane said this week that opposition parties have failed to come to an agreement but says he has not lost hope despite the fact that negotiations must be concluded before the end of this month.

“The truth is they need one another badly. They need to go to the next general election as a united group,” he said.

Mpotokwane said conveners of opposition cooperation are concerned about the state of the country’s democracy hence their mediation role.

“We believe democracy without a strong opposition is ineffective. ┬áThe Umbrella has to work.

Opposition parties agreed on incumbency as one of the criteria to be used for allocation of constituencies but it was never defined. Some are saying incumbency must be based on the performance of a party during the 2009 general election,” said Mpotokwane.

The BCP and the BMD have failed to agree on the allocation of constituencies while the BNF has offered the BMD Kgatleng West and Lobatse constituencies.

There is already talk that the BCP and the BNF are moving closer to forming an electoral pact as signs are beginning to show that parties are rigid in their demands.

The BCP and the BNF argue that the BMD wants to be allocated constituencies which incumbent BMD legislators won marginally under the Botswana Democratic Party ticket.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.