UDC opens arms to BPF
- Says it is ready to engage with Khama-led party
- BDP is at its weakest point – Saleshando
- Khama to launch some UDC candidates
Botswana’s major opposition party, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), says the emergence of newly-registered Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) has left the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at its weakest point ever, presenting the best chance for the opposition to take over power at the this year’s general elections.
After months of speculation over the possibility of a new political party linked to former president Ian Khama, suspended BDP Memeber of Parliament Biggie Butale confirmed the registration and existence of the BPF at a meeting in Serowe last Saturday.
The BPF is another splinter of the BDP in less than 10 years and is spearheaded by disgruntled members of the ruling party. Addressing multitudes of his sympathizers, Khama said the new party would form an alliance with existing opposition parties in a quest to end the BDP’s 53 years of uninterrupted rule.
Responding to the developments in Serowe, UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando said his party was more than open to discussing issues around cooperation with the BPF. “I want to put it on record that as the UDC we have never engaged with Khama but we are willing to engage with them to try and understand what they stand for and if we share a common course,” said the Maun West parliamentary candidate.
“As opposition parties, when we prepare for elections we already know that the BDP has 15 seats in the bag coming from the Central District, but it is not case this time. I would say a second split of the BDP in less than 10 years means we have an even weaker BDP than ever before and if there was ever a chance for the oppposition to take over, it is this year.”
Despite veterans of the Botswana National Front (BNF) recently expressing their displeasure at the UDC dealings exploring alliances with former president Khama, Saleshando is over the view that “in politics, you can never say never.”