SELIBE- PHIKWE: Presidentof the BotswanaCongress Party (BCP),Dumelang Saleshando hassaid that his party will supportother opposition parties in nextyear’s general elections in constituencieswhere they wouldhave not fi elded candidates.He said this when he offi ciallyopened the party’s 6th nationalcongress in Selebi Phikwe overthe weekend.Saleshando said that thoughthe BCP pulled out of the umbrellaproject that the BotswanaNational Front (BNF), BotswanaPeoples Party (BPP) and theBotswana Movement for Democracy(BMD) are in, it doesnot mean that they will neverwork with these parties.
“In the coming general electionsBCP will plead with their membersto support other opposition partiesonly where we do not have candidates.We are doing this to show ourcounterparts that life is not only theumbrella, we want to show themthat there are other alternatives thatcan be used to wrestle power fromthe ruling party,” said the BCP President.Saleshando said that even thoughthe BCP pulled back from the cooperationtalks, there was no bad bloodbetween his party and the partiesthat formed the Umbrella for DemocraticChange, and they are not offeringthe support for any return offavour, but to wrestle power fromthe BDP.
“In 2010 we resolved to engageother opposition parties on a possiblecooperation in the run to the2014 general elections but towardsthe end of 2011 there was minimalprogress and it was doubtful that theconclusion could be reached withina reasonable period. Upon that realizationwe pulled back in order tomove on with preparations for theelections,” he said.At some stage, the BCP and theBNF engaged in talks for a possiblecooperation of the two but thatmove also failed to bear any fruitsand subsequently, the BCP resolvedto move on citing the time frame asnot favourable to continue with negotiations.
Saleshando emphasized the needfor the opposition to always exercisecaution when engaging in cooperationtalks as they will needeach other in future. “So the supportwe are offering our counterparts isunqualifi ed and not conditional onwhether or not other parties reciprocate,”he stressed, further statingthat cooperation must be on the basisof solid shared values, vision andnot hastily concocted arrangementwith cracks that cannot guarantee astable government.