The recent presence of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) entourage at the Alliance for Progressives (AP) Manifesto launch led by party President Sydney Pilane has been raised as part of the reason why the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) snubbed the AP.
This was despite an invitation having been sent to all UDC member parties.
Some UDC members have protested the BMD’s presence at AP launch, indicating that they couldn’t share same table with them. UDC has suspended BMD from their membership and will meet in court this week.
AP Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale confirmed on Thursday that all the individual opposition parties were invited to the launch and was not aware why they didn’t honour the invitation.
“I am very surprised that some of people are complaining about Pilane’s presence at our launch because each and every party was sent an invitation. None of UDC parties turned up; hence they go on spreading petty talk about us over BMD presence. We don’t care at all,” Butale said.
He said no party can dictate how the AP should handle its matters with regards to who to involve in dialogue, adding that he suspects that the absence of UDC parties might have not wanted Pilane to be part of the invitation.
“We at AP we don’t have any problem with Pilane or the BMD and as it seems like some people have problems with him and his party. At AP we are open to each and every opposition political party hence the reason why we invited all the opposition parties. We want to stress that there is no bad blood between us and Pilane,” he added.
Mohwasa deny snub
UDC Publicity Secretary Moeti Mohwasa confirmed that the parties received the AP invitation however they could not show up for the AP launch because they had other engagements at the same time.
He said there is no way the UDC could snub the AP’s proposal to engagements because of the BMD presence. He said there was no intentional absence of UDC due to the presence of Pilane’s BMD.
Dr Butale said the UDC has failed to revert back to them on the demands they had forwarded to them as precondition for them to work together in the 2019 general elections.
Nkaigwa attacks AP
Gaborone North lawmaker and former AP member Haskins Nkaigwa has constantly attacked the AP since jumping ship to join the UDC.
Nkaigwa has dismissed the AP, saying it is not a strong party enough to garner even one seat in the next general elections.
Dr Butale however said Nkaigwa must just focus on his party and leave them alone. He said the party’s manifesto launch was a great success as it has managed to attract a large pool of crowd.