Opposition stalwart and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando has beseeched on the Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) President Duma Boko to reflect on courting Alliance for Progressives (AP) back into the UDC.
The one-year purple party, led by Ndaba Gaolathe left the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) following irreparable indifferences with the other group under the contentious Sidney Pilane who now remains as its leader. Speaking to Weekend Post this week Saleshando insisted that UDC needs the AP and that they should do the needful to twist their (AP) arm as time for 2019 General Elections is fast gaining pace.
According to Saleshando, the UDC President Boko always says his mission is to unite all the opposition parties in Botswana and therefore coaxing AP provides him with the opportunity to reclaim his glory. “So hopefully he (Boko) will also take the necessary steps to cajole AP into the UDC fold in the shortest span of time. Already time is running out,” the BCP leader maintained to this publication. He also said that: “the UDC leadership all know that we need AP more than they need us so it is not for me as Saleshando to say it. The UDC leadership is equally aware to this fact.”
The UDC Vice President also stated that unfortunately the UDC leadership structure haven’t met for sometime so it has not yet discussed the “danger” of AP being left alone to contest next elections separately from other opposition parties. “I believe we will be stronger with the AP. If left alone the party will split votes and maybe eat on the UDC vote as most opposition voters are likely to vote another opposition. Therefore, Boko and the UDC time is running out for the umbrella party to strike this crucial deal,” the ex two times Gaborone Central legislator said.
Saleshando is also cautious that it won’t be smooth sailing in the Umbrella as is the nature of coalitions everywhere. “Coalitions by nature have positives and negatives. We can’t take positives only without the negatives. But one hopes negatives don’t outweigh positives,” he said. He gave a testimony that already he was confronted by some potential voters owing to BMD’s bloody fight involving fiery dogs that led to the party splitting.
“I was confronted in one of my campaigns negatively gore a ga se lona ba dintswa and you can’t say nnyaa ga se rona as we are in the same boat.” The UDC VP is aware that whatever conducts coming from other parties will affect the other as blood from the BMD has already spilled to them as evidenced by his testimony.
Why BCP won’t leave the UDC
In light of the development which might tarnish the stable BCP and the entire UDC project, Saleshando however told this publication that there is still no decision to think that the BCP is leaving UDC neither is there a call to consider the position. “I don’t think opting out of the umbrella would assist anything; the challenges that exist would be resolved. In the interest of our democracy, BCP should not leave and therefore 2019 should be about changing government. Our democracy needs to witness the transition from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to a new era.”
As you know, Saleshando said, UDC can’t win elections without BCP even though the last polls the green party garnered 20% of the popular vote so this essentially means that there cannot be any meaningful change without the BCP. And for the BCP going alone, it will require more time to double the popular vote in 2019 and “we are alive to this following 2014 General Elections where we contested alone.”
Saleshando still hopeful UDC will win in 2019
Against all odds, the Maun West UDC candidate in the next elections still believes that his party will win the government. “I think we can win in 2019 as we are boosted by the past by elections which have proven that we are stronger and even made breakthrough in some BDP strongholds,” he emphasized. Meanwhile when reached for comment UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said the UDC’s position is that all opposition parties in Botswana should contest as one entity towards 2019 as “we are much stronger together.”
UDC retreat failed
Meanwhile the UDC retreat that was expected to take place between 1st June and 3rd June 2018 could not materialize owing to President Duma Boko’s engagement with Parliamentary business. This means that there is no movement on the issue of the UDC constitution, which is of grave concern to the BCP. Saleshando and his party wants the UDC to adopt the new constitution which recognizes the BCP formally. No new date has been set for the retreat.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.