BPP ready to sign opposition accord
Published September 5th 2005 in Daily News Online
Botswana Peoples Party has stated reasons why it has not immediately signed the memorandum of understanding entered into by Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) and Botswana National Front (BNF).

The party says it needed to enter into further dialogue with other signatories of the agreement before signing, as it was not proper for them to sign the memorandum they did not draft.

BPP president, Bernard Balikani said by the time the memorandum of understanding was signed, they had requested a meeting with other parties to discuss the draft agreement. But the meeting did not materialise hence they did not sign.

He indicated that his party has since satisfied itself about the contents of the agreement and is ready to sign.

The three parties, BCP, BAM and BNF each agreed not to contest by-elections in constituencies or wards in which the other is participating prior to the 2009 general elections.

Balikani told BOPA that, the only aspect BPP is not happy about in the agreement is what would determine which party to field a candidate in a particular by-election.

The agreement says it would be based on the results of the last elections and that a party with a larger following will be given the opportunity to stand.

He says the support base for political parties fluctuates overtime and that the parties need to identify a mechanism which would be employed to decide which party should stand for by-election in a particular constituency.

The BPP leader also dismissed suggestions that internal instability within the movement might have prevented them from endorsing the agreement asserting that, the partys July Congress gave the leadership a mandate to enter into cooperation with other parties.

The BPP has also sent a proposal to other political parties seeking the All-Party Conference, which would give them a platform to initiate a process of electoral reforms.

BPP, BCP, BNF and BAM boycotted the second All Party Conference last year arguing that the government did not want to listen to their concerns.

Its leader accused former Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration for the deadlock but observed that the incumbent minister is willing to talk to other parties on the matter.

Balikani suggested that time is right for the government to consider the issue of party funding, proportional representation and pre-setting of the election date as well as other electoral reforms.