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AP and BPF in Unity Talks

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KOKETSO MOSWETSI

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are said to be in talks to start a new relationship that will see both parties helping each other in their quest to remove the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). 

In an interview with the Parrot News Online this week, BPF Party President Biggie Butale confirmed that currently the BPF and AP are currently in talks to work together. Though he was economical with revealing details what the talks are about. Butale is confident that the meetings are to breed a consentual ground that will see the two parties working together.

Although Butale says they have been meeting with the leadership, AP leadership have since denied that. AP President Ndaba Gaolathe in an interview with this publication said he has never met anyone as he is not in Botswana. 

Probed further if he has used any means to communicate with the BPF leadership about his party working with the BPF Ndaba said: “I am old fashioned, I would not discuss anything of that significance remotely other than in person, neither would any of our other leaders embark on talks without first deriving a mandate from our congress.”

AP Secretary General Phenyo Butale also went parallel with the BPF Butale words. According to AP’s Butale, his party is not in talks with the BPF. 

“Our congress is coming up, that is where we can discuss how and when the party can work with other opposition parties, as far as I know no one has represented the party at a meeting with the BPF,” AP’s Butale. 

Though Butale seemed to be clueless about the meeting said to have been held between his leader and Khama, it looks like the alleged bromance between Khama and Ndaba is being embraced by other party leaders. 

The once Khama political nemesis who now acts as the AP advisor Magret Nasha in an interview with this publication could not state that she will advise AP leadership not to work with Khama. 

“We have not met as the party, when we meet we will discuss this, reason with each other and advise accordingly what will work best for the party, what matters most in a democratic setup is what majority thinks not what I think, ” Nasha. 

The AP youth league appears to be warming up to the idea of working with the BPF.

According to the AP Youth League President Jacob Kelebeng as the youth league they believe in the unity of opposition parties. 

“We can not give an official comment on the matter, until we get a fresh mandate from the AP youth at the congress, but as the youth league we believe in the unity of opposition parties,”Kelebeng 

He went on to say:”Again we have to be delicate and treat the idea of opposition cooperation with care and accept that not all will agree, its important to get everybody on board to understand why opposition parties need each other and how are we going to work together. As for now the conversation must keep going within the structures of the party to see how best we approach this matter.”

The BPF and AP are seemingly the youngest political parties in Botswana. Both parties are breakaways from other local parties. What makes them to have a mutual relationship is, both parties are of the BDP lineages. 

The AP was formed after breaking away from the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). BMD was formed by the late Gomolemo Motswaledi after having a fall out with the then BDP leader who is also the Former President of Botswana Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama. 

Khama last year also dumped the BDP to help form BPF following a fall out with his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The BPF bestowed Khama with the Patronage role to guide the BPF. 

Lately Khama has been on a recruitment drive in the country central district, poaching and luring members of the  BDP to the BPF. Former members of the BDP were seen during Khama recruitment drives throwing away their BDP membership cards a tradition at the BPF which signifies one is now a BPF member. 

The immerse growth of BPF looks like has attracted other political parties as the AP is alleged to have approached the BPF seeking partnership with BPF to defeat President Masisi led party come 2024 General Elections.