Botswana National Front (BNF) leader Duma Boko seems to be headed for another litmus test, this time over the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) membership card. The card is said to have divided the party and there are growing fears that may tear the BNF into factions.
BNF rank and file are worried that proper or adequate consultations was not done and the UDC membership is aimed at annihilating the movement (BNF) that many are very much attached to. The members are questioning the UDC application form, which talks about one’s previous party arguing that technically it renders one’s membership of either the BNF, BMD or BPP null and void.
Boko is widely credited for keeping BNF united- a party, which is synonymous with vicious factions. This would not be the first time for Boko who is also the President of UDC to fight a battle of this nature. He once fought a legal battle against some BNF activists who were against the use of BNF symbol in the UDC emblem.
Insiders within the BNF have informed Botswana Guardian that the UDC membership card has divided the BNF even at central committee level, as some members believe the masses were not taken on board on the matter. Ever since UDC Secretary General Ndaba Gaolathe issued a letter regarding the UDC card the BNF central committee is still yet to meet and deliberate on the matter. Some BNF members are of the opinion that the party should take its time to educate members on how things would work once they have the UDC membership cards.
“We do not argue that the congress as the supreme body of the party could have endorsed the UDC Constitution but the fact is that fellow comrades especially those who did not attend the Gantsi congress and those who cannot convincingly interpret legal instruments like the constitution should not be left behind.
The party leadership was supposed to embark on educational campaign about the UDC Constitution and its structures including this card,” said a source within the BNF Central Committee.Another member of the BNF said the issue has to be clarified to the membership because as the UDC contracting party they need the card.
“For instance, logically all the council and Parliamentary candidates contested under UDC so we need this card,” said the member. Currently the issue of the card is said to be a heated debate in the ongoing regional meetings that are being conducted by the party led by Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa.