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Election re-runs to test opposition attitudes

Publishing Date : 12 January, 2015

Author : TEFO PHEAGE


The circumstances surrounding opposition cooperation continue to play themselves out. While the 2014 general elections may have exposed the dangers of going solo for the opposition, it appears, from the impending election re-runs party preparations that the opposition parties are fine with learning the hard way.


The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development recently issued a writ of elections for election re-runs in Moshupa West, Ngware and Goodhope Council wards. The nominations were held yesterday for the 31st January, 2015 and all the parties will be participating.


The re-runs have been occasioned by ties in the same wards in the October, 2014 General Elections. In Moshupa West, the tie was between Botswana Congress Party and Botswana Democratic Party and in the other two wards namely Ngware and Goodhope the tie was between Umbrella for Democratic Change and the BDP.


Interestingly, the opposition parties appear to be singing from different hymnbooks, once again. The different views they held over the modalities of cooperation prior to 2014 general elections are and will still be evident in the impending re-runs to be held end of this month. The UDC wanted the BCP to come under the Umbrella while the BCP advocated for a pact type of model.


The Botswana Congress Party which has been heavily criticised for shunning opposition unity prior to the 2014 elections has maintained that it stands by its well known principle of supporting other opposition parties where it feels that its chances are minimal.


Speaking over the impending elections, the BCP spokesperson, Taolo Lucas says the BCP leadership has consulted with its cadres in the affected areas and have taken a deliberate decision to contest Moshupa West Ward and not contest Goodhope and Ngware Wards in support of the UDC.


“We shall therefore encourage our members to support the UDC in those two wards. Our decision is informed by 1) our desire to maximize chances of opposition victory in the contested areas 2) our assessment of realistic chances of winning, given that the same voters roll as was used in October 2014 will obtain and 3) to promote the spirit of cooperation that was demonstrated by the opposition in Parliament, Kgatleng Distict Council, South East District Council and Central District in the aftermath of the General Elections,” he said.


The UDC however says it will not be compromising and will contest all the wards, even those that they feel they were numerically disadvantaged. The Botswana National front Secretary General, Ferdinand Kgosikoma said they will not be cooperating with anyone because no such cooperation agreement exists between the two parties.


“We have not met and we do not have such an agreement with the BCP or anyone else, so we will be contesting all the three wards. We however do not oppose anyone’s support to anyone who may deem it necessary and helpful,” said Kgosikoma.
Political commentators argue that the opposition antics are a clear testimony that opposition unity is nothing but a pie in the sky. The BDP, they add, might as well emerge the victor in all the contested wards at the bye elections, due to their (opposition) political bickering.

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