- Botswana opposition parties are beginning to see the importance of working together to oust the ruling BDP party, parliamentary candidate Soblen Mayane of the Botswana National Front (BNF) holds. He points to visible and positive outcomes from recent by-elections, where the opposition united, resulting in a rare victory over the dominating BNF, which has ruled the country since independence.
Speaking during the launch of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), council candidate Mayane warned that cooperation of opposition parties does not mean annexing other parties but working together for a positive cause. He expressed a wish that a clear message on cooperation could be deeply absorbed and understood by the electorate.
Mr Mayane said as members of the BNF, they would pledge their support to the BCP in the ward and noted that Batswana are tired of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) party.
Vice President of the Botswana opposition People's Party (BPP), Moses Mokgatle, stated that there were irregularities and loopholes in the way the current government administers its activities. He also criticised President Festus Mogae saying he does not have the welfare of the impoverished Babirwa people of his constituency at heart.
He appreciated the fact that opposition unity had borne fruit and said it had also caused some internal splits within the ruling party. "As members of the opposition in the country, our main aim is to topple the BDP and this is going to sail smoothly under the cooperation initiative."
Mr Mokgatle pointed out that Botswana's opposition had previously lost all the general elections and had realised that they were not strong enough, but this time they would snatch power from the ruling party. He dismissed hope by the ruling party that the opposition parties would split before the 2009 elections.
Since independence in 1966, the ruling BDP has won every legislative election, which again has given it the presidency for almost four decades. Elections have generally been free and fair.
In the last legislative elections, on 30 October 2004, the BDP won almost 52 percent of the votes, giving it 44 out of a total of 57 parliamentary seats. Two opposition parties are represented in the Gaborone parliament. Repeated calls for a united opposition to effectively challenge the BDP have failed until now.
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