Will challenge BCP legitimacy
The Botswana People’s Party (BPP) will not dump the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) for the Alliance of Progressives (AP) as widely held in some speculations, but will fight for the resolution of the issues which include the legitimacy of BCP within the UDC.
According to the BPP Vice President, Takula Lenyatso, the party’s position remains unchanged as they believe that the transition that welcomed BCP was unconstitutional and undermined by the other UDC contracting partners.
“I can confirm that the BPP leadership has resolved to remain in the UDC project, but provided the BCP is not included in the meetings as there are still questions concerning their legality. As the party that is principled we cannot adhere to decisions taken by one man. So as the co-founders of the UDC it will be cowardice to run away instead of fighting for our rights and unresolved while within,” he told The Botswana Gazette.
Lenyatso stated that they want a constitutional transition which includes the contribution of other UDC contracting partners. “We do not want BCP to attend as their legality is still questionable,” he emphasized.
Lenyatso pointed out that, on their meeting with the UDC scheduled for 9th November, they will move a suggestion that the coalition should consider working with the AP towards as they do not believe the opposition bloc could win elections without uniting efforts.
“It is unfortunate that wisdom always eludes our opposition parties and they start attacking each other instead of working together to topple the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from power. This issue of attacking AP has to stop and at the UDC meeting we will raise this issue and propose that those who continue with attacks should be called to order. The UDC leaders should not be seen in the forefront attacking AP just because they have formed a new party. We want maturity and wisdom in the opposition leadership,” stressed Lenyatso appealing for sober heads within the opposition.
Speculation has been rife over the future of the BPP within UDC, with some commentators suggesting that the party was planning to break-away from the opposition coalition to join the newly established Alliance for Progressives (AP). Insiders however told The Botswana Gazette that while some in the central committee pushed for the party to leave the UDC, the move did not succeed as the majority were against the idea. Eventually, the committee resolved to remain in the UDC and to pursue their grievances from within.
The Botswana People’s Party, as the oldest opposition party in Botswana, has been part of several foiled opposition cooperations. In 1999, the BPP pulled out of the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) after the coalition came unstuck at the polls. “We had not only lost our party symbol, the five-pronged star on a yellow background, but we had also lost many of our leaders and members who defected to BAM,” former BPP President Bernard Balikani told the media in 2007.
In 1990, the BPP along with the BNF formed an electoral alliance called The People’s Patriotic Front, but it soon unravelled and the BNF contested the 1994 elections alone winning 13 seats while the BPP won no seat.