AP, UDC cagey about their talks

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 30 January 2019   |   By Ricardo Kanono
AP Leadership: [L-R] Phenyo Butale, Ndaba Gaolathe and Pius Mokgware AP Leadership: [L-R] Phenyo Butale, Ndaba Gaolathe and Pius Mokgware

It appears it will take some time before the negotiations between The Alliance for Progressives and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) bear any fruit.

At this stage, they are still feeling each other out – full romance is far from being enjoyed.

AP Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale has confirmed that they have responded to the request by UDC to join them. But Dr Butale couldn’t be drawn into discussing what the contents of their response to the UDC was, saying it would pre-empt what their possible future discussion would entail.

“I am not at liberty to discuss the contents of our response. This is a sensitive issue that we believe should be handled with caution. The party will communicate with media when the time is right,” he said.

When quizzed on whether they are open for coalition talks with any other party apart from the UDC, Butale also declined to comment.

“I cannot speculate on events that have not yet taken place. As far as I am concerned, the UDC is the only political party which has approached the AP so far,” said Dr Butale.

Meanwhile, UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa also confirmed that they received a response from the AP, but declined to comment further.

“The opposition has in the past agreed that the only way it could unseat  the BDP is coming together and working together under the umbrella and that is basically what our proposal to the AP entails,” he said.

Mohwasa explained that the UDC has not yet replied to the AP regarding the contents of their response and will only be able to do that when the NEC meets next month.

“The NEC has just met recently and will only meet again for scheduled meetings in February,” he said.

In an interview recently , political analyst Anthony Morima said for the opposition, especially the  UDC coalition to wrestle power from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), its leadership should expedite cooperation talks with the Alliance for Progressives (AP) ahead of 2019 general elections.

Morima said a united opposition can be the effective in toppling the BDP, which is also currently facing internal disputes amongst its members.

“The opposition fraternity has been on serious disarray in the past year and with the elections season now approaching, unity talks between AP and UDC is what the opposition can still opt for towards the elections. UDC should seriously fast track the negotiations in bringing the AP into the UDC fold for uniting the opposition,” said Morima.