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Maimane calls for opposition cooperation

Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in South Africa, Mr Mmusi Maimane has encouraged members of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to soldier on and not to lose track in their effort to make vibrant cooperation among opposition parties.

Speaking at the UDC constitutional congress in Gaborone on February 23, he said coalitions and alliances were not always smooth sailing because, in most cases, there was no room to agree on everything.

“I am sure that many of you in this room do not agree on everything. But that is not important. What is important is that you can agree on the things that matter most, uplifting your people, fighting poverty, creating jobs, growing the economy and safeguarding the resources of the country,” he said.

He said UDC members, as a united opposition against the ruling government, should be weary of what the future holds, what threats and opportunities were before them as people relied on them for hope of a fresh start.

He urged them not to fall into the temptation of mobilising their followers on the basis of race, language or ethnicity because they would be no different to populists.

“I hope what unites you here is not the colour of your skin, but your shared vision of a prosperous Botswana that will open up opportunities for all Batswana.

You must stand for all the people of Botswana and be the custodians of your nations’ democracy,” he said

He noted that democracy was strengthened through collaborative efforts of opposition parties, and that if democracy was to prevail, there must also be strong institutions that would protect democracy.

For his part, UDC leader Advocate Duma Boko assured members of the UDC that the organisation would find a solution to dealing with challenges that besieged it.

He acknowledged that the UDC had been grappling with challenges that came with the aftermath of the Botswana Movement for Democracy elective congress in Bobonong last year.

He said as a collective movement of four parties, Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), they had to grapple together despite the pressures, misgivings and misapprehension of the UDC members.

 “I know what you said to me that I should kick them out of the movement, but I could not allow such open admission of failure,” he said. Advocate Boko said it was best for UDC to fail their way to success rather than to expel other party members.

He said as far as he was concerned, he remained faithful to the mandate he was given by the BNF to lead the UDC.

Advocate Boko also said he stood on the side of principle, despite the fact that some members were hurt in the process.

“I know the murmuring of doubts doing the rounds that call for the expel of other comrades, I have heard all of them, I remain unmoved by them because it will be a fatal mistake.

It will be a fatal error to engage in that kind of talk,” he said.

He said despite the fact that the BMD has been marred with controversy and challenges, the solution should come from members of the UDC, adding that expelling them from the movement was not an option.

“After we have come through these problems, we will hold each other by hand, and we will not be apart from each other, but we will all be a part of the UDC,” he said.

He also encouraged members to make their input on the constitution of the movement and to exercise humility and sensitivity when dealing with such complex issues.

Meanwhile, UDC deputy leader and leader of BCP, Mr Dumelang Saleshando has called on the UDC  leader, Advocate Boko to shoulder the responsibility of persuading lost members of the opposition to come back to the UDC in order to strengthen their collaborative efforts.

He said this at the UDC launch that followed the party congress on Saturday. He added that they should be keepers of each other in the opposition.

The BPP leader, Mr Motlatsi Molapisi called on members to desist from insulting each other through social media and to work hard to oust the ruling Botswana Democratic Party while the leader of BMD, Advocate Sidney Pilane called for unity among party members.ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Mmoniemang Motsamai

Location : GABORONE

Event : UDC constitutional congress

Date : Feb 26 Mon,2018


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