Africa-Press – Botswana. The admission of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) into the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has caused divisions within the now four-member opposition coalition.
The coalition includes the Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana Peoples Party BPP), which are the founding members alongside Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) which has since been expelled.
The communiqué on the admission of the BPF into the UDC, which was signed by the presidents of the BPF and UDC, Caroline Lesang and Duma Boko emphasises the need to engage the BPF. The document announces 9th September as the date for the next meeting at which progress reports will be given.
A UDC official very close to the leadership but preferring to remain anonymous as he inwardly has a different view on the matter, said he is alarmed by the decision which he believes is the product of opportunism.
“This is ironic. Both the BMD and the UDC are products of the autocracy of Ian Khama when he was the President. Now we are putting the cat among the pigeons,” lamented the UDC politician.
In his view, wherever Dr Khama is, there can be no stability because his personal interests tend to come first.
“As we speak, Khama wants to contest the elections because he cannot stand the possibility of his brother, Tshekedi, losing the presidential elections to Guma Moyo or anybody else,” the anonymous politician said.
The worried politician is also of the view that allegations of corruption by the Khama brothers while in government and even after, should be taken seriously. “My view is that even before the elections, anti-corruption measures should be put in place within our structures to avert soiling the coalition going forward,” he says.
By press-time, BPF leaders could not be reached because they were in a meeting. However, social media is awash with objections to the deal with some suggesting that instead of the leaders deciding, the matter should have been escalated to a party conference.
Yet another opposition party veteran also preferring anonymity for fear of a backlash from followers and leadership says the decision to enlist the BPF behind everybody’s back is a measure of Duma Boko’s desperation for legitimacy.
“He realises the BCP may leave the UDC which would leave him with the BPP which has very little following,” he said.
Also adding his voice on the matter, political leader Themba Joina believes that the resolution by the party leaders was a hurried decision.
“I hope the decision is only provisional pending verification by a party conference or congress. National Executive Committees (NEC) of any party should not make final decisions. It appears there is no mandate here,” the politician-cum lawyer, said.
In an interview with this publication, the UDC Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa said that UDC NEC is empowered to make decisions. “This is nothing new. The BCP was admitted into the UDC in this manner,” Mohwasa clarified.