There was panic and confusion among the opposition last weekend when President Ian Khama revealed at a political rally in Moshupa that he knows what is going on about the opposition unity talks and that there is a deadlock. Some within the opposition have confided that what President Khama said was clear indication that they have been infiltrated and information is leaked to their detractors. But the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko has dismissed the information revealed by Khama on their negotiations with Botswana congress Party (BCP). Khama had said that BCP has proposed a new look opposition to be known as UDC+(BCP) where the president of the party will be elected by delegates at an elective congress in time for the 2019 general elections. “It is just speculation which is far removed from the truth and way off the mark,” said Boko, who added that currently things are going well. He said that unlike the 2011 talks, the current ones are a ‘do or die’ for both parties as the 2014 general elections results have shown that they must work together as to dislodge power from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Another issue that is said to be threatening the unity is the continued attack of each by the contracting partners. Recently Secretary General of Botswana People Party (BPP) Botho Seboko was accused of calling other opposition members who criticised the founding President Sir Seretse Khama ‘baboons’. This was after Boko said that he doesn’t see anything special with Khama’s marriage to a white woman. This sparked fury which some say it has led to the UDC losing the Kalakamati council by- elections. Boko said that they are treading on a thin line and hence discourage peddling of insults by members. He said that there are channels where issues are handled. “We should be engaging on propounding on serious issues not peddling insults and treat each other with respect,” he said. He discourages his members from insulting the BDP but instead should engage them in debating issues.
“I always encourage our members that they must inform themselves before engaging in any debate. They must reflect on the facts so that they are dealing with accurate matters,” said Boko, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Parliament. One of the reasons why they have failed to solve some of the conflicts in the past, according to Boko, is that they didn’t establish facts. He said that some of the issues arise from lack of knowledge, leading to conflicts and misunderstanding, adding that they have rectified that through a strong conflict management policy. Recently he was accused of his frequent absenteeism from Parliament and globetrotting and Boko who is also Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North said that most of the accusations come from lack of knowledge by party cadres and his detractors. “Some operations are non-communicable, they will just see by the results,” he said.