The President of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) also Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central Dumelang Saleshando might have a short stint as the Leader of Opposition (LOO) in Parliament for the second time. Information reaching The Gazette is that the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is in talks with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Member of Parliament for Nata-Gweta, Rayner Makosha to join them.
The LOO seat which was declared vacant in December 2012 by the Speaker of the National Assembly after the number of UDC MPs equaled that of the BCP was only occupied last week following the BCP victory in Francistown West bye elections.
In an interview with The Gazette Makosha was euphemistical about his alleged move to the UDC. “The issue should be left to the handlers for now; maybe one of the handlers may benefit something from the talks. You are too ahead, give me some time and we will talk. I do not want this issue to be spilled before time,” he said.
Pressed further Makosha was more equivocal “the big issue here that I can share with you is that do not underestimate both the ruling BDP and the UDC. They are both doing their work. It is a game of opportunities; one party looks into another party’s mistake and then capitalise. This is democracy at its best. I do not hate either of the parties at the end of the day the best party is determined by the people’s choice.”
Pressured to respond on whether he is on his way out of the ruling party Makosha who lost primaries in 2013 admitted that “yes” he is leaving the BDP.
Botswana National Front secretary general Tapiso Kgosikoma said his office has not yet received any formal information concerning Makosha’s interest in joining the UDC.
Reached for comment, Saleshando said the LOO office comes with responsibilities and that if he is ousted it will affect the mandate he was supposed to deliver on. “I cannot say I had nothing to do as the leader of opposition but as long as I hold it I will make sure it is an effective delivery on our part,” he said.
Political analyst at the University of Botswana Lesole Machacha said opposition parties spend most of their time sabotaging each other than focusing on the ruling party.
“Opposition need to act like a government in waiting. The leader of opposition might look as a small seat but it represents the voice of the minority in Parliament. What message are they communicating if they fight for a seat; can the electorates trust them with the government, what will happen if they are voted into power? We are going to see a situation where they fight for positions instead of focusing on the needs of their electorates. What is happening on the opposition side will make the BDP smile to the general elections,” he said.
Machacha added that the UDC move might be influenced by the refusal of the BCP to join the Umbrella. “Now the two opposition parties are fighting for the strength. UDC wants to paint a better image than the BCP and vice versa. UDC cannot allow BCP to look superior over them hence the sabotage, they are just making sure that they have equal strength,” he said.