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BCP delays decision on cooperation with UDC

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The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) came out of its weekend retreat in Palapye without any concrete decision on whether it will join forces with other opposition parties in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The BCP had convened a leadership forum over the weekend in Palapye to reflect on the outcome of the 2014 general elections but failed to reach consensus on the most pertinent issue of whether it will join forces with the UDC. However, the leadership forum agreed that BCP should work with other opposition parties in parliament and local councils as well as during all by-elections. On the issue of cooperation, the leadership forum agreed that while such will be encouraged it will be dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the dynamics of the area. One of the pertinent issues that the leadership forum was to consider was the performance of the party in the 2014 general elections and whether the time was not right for the BCP to join forces with the UDC. While the BCP leadership has previously hinted at intentions to cooperate with the UDC to unseat the BDP in the 2019 general elections, it has not yet come up with a concrete modus operandi on how it will work with the UDC going forward. On Monday BCP publicity secretary Taolo Lucas released a statement indicating that his party will only engage the UDC and other opposition formations with a view to exploring appropriate models of cooperation after it has completed its evaluation exercise. “Upon completing our election evaluation exercise, we will engage UDC and other opposition formations with a view to exploring appropriate models of cooperation to unseat BDP. We must reiterate that our long standing commitment to opposition cooperation, that saw BCP merging with other parties, remains unchanged,” said Lucas. He however would not be drawn into discussing the model of cooperation they would prefer, saying the time was not right for such a discussion. UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa has previously indicated that the door will always be open for the BCP. The leadership forum also recommended that BCP must embark on a comprehensive evaluation of its performance in the 2014 general elections and make recommendations on the way forward. It also instructed the party leadership to embark on a nation wide tour to appreciate the challenges that the BCP encountered in the general elections and facilitate an audit to be undertaken on the structures and membership of the BCP with immediate effect. Elected representatives of the BCP were also urged to take up issues raised in the party’s 2014 election manifesto in council and parliament platforms and also work with other opposition parties in both local councils and parliament. “In all by-elections, cooperation will be encouraged but it will be dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the dynamics of the area,” said Lucas.

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