Botswana opposition forms a coalition

Gaborone – Botswana’s opposition parties have ganged up in an effort to give the ruling party, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) a run for its money.

Moeti Mohwasa, the spokesperson for the new coalition last Wednesday said after earlier postponement, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) was expected to be launched this Saturday (November 10).

The coalition is an ongoing political effort of Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the Botswana People's Party (BPP) to mount a strong challenge on the ruling BDP.

The UDC had to postpone its national launch to sort out a leadership deadlock between the three parties. Leader of BNF, Duma Boko, is a prospective candidate for the presidency after Gomolemo Motswaledi of the BMD bowed out from the presidency race a few weeks ago citing a consensus by the BMD executive committee. According to Mohwasa, the launch will go ahead while the umbrella partners are currently finalising details of who will lead the party.

“In due-time, we will announce the UDC president, the constituency as well as the party symbol,” Mohwasa told the media last Wednesday.

He alluded that parties will maintain their individual status, and will only be affiliated to the coalition.

Mohwasa further stressed that the UDC launch comes at the right time, as the Batswana need an alternative party ahead of the 2014 general elections to solve their problems.

He revealed that after the national launch in Gaborone, UDC would also be rolled out across the country to sensitise the electorate in order to inform their decision ahead of 2014.

BNF president, Boko, said that the opposition believes that the umbrella is a viable model of co-operation that will be implemented in good faith, and will deliver a strong and effective joint opposition force that will also unseat the ruling party.

Boko observed that the recent events in the country and the umbrella negotiator’s experiences from the talks show that there is space for a new, strong and effective party in the country that can take power through elections in 2014.

“Defections of individuals are okay to take place as we understand that some weak people who are not politically strong are mostly economically challenged and it is an ongoing thing,” said Boko. Boko added that progress had also been made on the election of a common presidential candidate for the 2014 general elections.  He stated that all participating parties and conveners presented their positions on the matter and added that the umbrella president will be elected through a popular vote.

“If all parties want to merge by dissolving their parties and forming one umbrella party, it will be a good merger and we want the best out of this and the unions are also in support,” he said.

November 2012
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