Botswana Congress Party Youth League (BCPYL) President, Tumiso Rakgare has urged the BCP leadership to act swiftly and start cooperation talks with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as soon as possible, saying it is time for opposition parties to put their differences aside and work together to change government. Rakgare was speaking at a press conference on Monday.
“The party President, Dumelang Saleshando reiterated our commitment to cooperating with other opposition parties in his speech during the Kanye congress. The youth league supports the President’s remarks and wishes to urge the leadership to initiate talks with the UDC as soon as possible. Batswana are clear that should the opposition parties cooperate in the 2019 elections, they will change government. The time has come for us in the opposition to put our differences aside and work towards liberating Batswana. We met this past weekend as the youth league and agreed that this is the stand we are taking as a committee, that the leadership should take initiatives to start talks with the UDC,” he said.
Rakgare also stated that the party should engage the UDC on ways they can cooperate on bye elections. He, however, warned the UDC that politicians who are leaving the party are sending a wrong message to the electorates and that it may end up hurting all opposition parties. “We wish to caution the UDC on the recent resignations. Batswana elected them with trust and confidence that they will represent them well. Since the general elections, hardly 11 months, we have had one Member of Parliament and two councillors ditching the electorates. Recently, we learnt about yet another resignation of the UDC councillor in Lobatse. Apparently he has been hired or rehired by a sugar packaging company. This paints a bad image on the opposition as a whole and it is tantamount to a vote of no confidence on the opposition. We condemn this practice because at the end Batswana would not only loose hope in the UDC or BCP, but rather the opposition as a whole,” he warned.
During the Kanye Congress last month, Saleshando stated that, after engaging their members and exploring possibilities of cooperation with other opposition parties, they found that it is imperative for the BCP to engage the UDC and seriously consider ways in which they can cooperate for the 2019 elections.
“During our regional meeting, this issue was put before our membership and our people demonstrated a deep understanding of the risks and opportunities presented by possible cooperation of the two main opposition parties, being the UDC and the BCP that jointly account for over 50 percent of the popular vote. Some of the fears that our people highlighted included the possibility of an unstable organization, compromising our political values and beliefs and possible disagreements when in government leading to a weak government. On the other hand, there are clear opportunities that come with cooperation. It allows for pooling of material and human resources to mount a stronger electoral challenge, avoiding vote splitting and enhancing chances of winning elections and forming a government,” he said.