“Let the child live’- Boko to BMD

Kemoreilwe Jimson
Monday, 31 July 2017
BNF & UDC leader, Duma Boko BNF & UDC leader, Duma Boko

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko will need the wisdom of King Solomon to try and solve the two-warring factions at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). 

It is an open secret that the troubled Orange Movement is facing a leadership crisis and needs help. In the book of 1st Kings Chapter 3 verses 16 - 28, King Solomon presided over a difficult dispute between two women each claiming she was the mother of the child; Since the two factions have written to UDC claiming the ownership of the party, Boko should apply his mind like King Solomon and take a decision that will save the life of the once peaceful and vibrant movement. 

Speaking this week, the calm Boko assured party members that as the leadership they will make sure that “the child lives” and calm the storm of division.

When speaking about internal wars at BMD, Boko who was once engaged in the same battles at BNF seven years  ago, projected an air confidence that they will overcome the BMD impasse. As they say experience is the best teacher, Boko has traversed the road that BMD is currently on and it will be easy for him to steer the sinking ship of the Orange Movement to the shore. 

“As leader of BNF, I have acted before. I have been in court myself, playing the role of attorney, accused and defendant defending BNF. We were fighting over the constitution of the party. What it allows me as the President to do and not to do? Who is better placed to understand the constitution,” he said. From this explanation, it was clear that Boko does not see the wars at BMD as a huge task for him as a leader because of the experience he has had with BNF when it was embroiled in the same internal wrangles. 

But political analyst, Anthony Morima says it will be a huge challenge for Boko to solve the impasse at BMD. According to Morima, Boko took a long time to resolve the wars at BMD. “I do not think Sydney Pilane faction will easily compromise because Gaolathe faction has ignored them for a long time. They called them for a hearing they never bothered to attend. Yet they went to Bobonong even though they claimed not to recognise the decision taken by the National Executive Committee,” he said adding that only the court can solve the impasse at BMD or a split.

Another political analyst, Leonard Sesa differs with Morima saying it would be suicidal if any faction would try to form a new party. He said only the special congress conducted by UDC could resolve the BMD impasse.

Morima does not see Pilane handing the Presidency to Gaolathe faction because he was elected according to the constitution. “The BMD situation is different from BNF because at that time Boko was fighting with people who did not have numbers. Gaolathe made a legal blunder and Pilane was elected according to the constitution. I don’t see Boko solving this issue because of egos among the two factions,” he said.

In his address Boko spoke about the importance of obeying the constitution, something that the Gaolathe faction is said to have failed to do. “The constitution of any organisation is a contract and one must conduct himself according to it,” he said. Morima argues that if Gaolathe and his faction go to court they will lose because they did not take the BMD constitution seriously.“The fracas at BMD will continue without an end. Remember this is a battle for state power. Those factions are positioning themselves for regime change in 2019. So I don’t see them easily compromising,” he said. He agrees with Boko that if he could have earlier taken sides in the wars it could have been suicidal for him even though it could have avoided the impasse at the party.  

But Sesa believes UDC should have intervened and warned BMD about the possible effects of the congress. Sesa says the challenge with UDC is that it does not have proper structures to solve the conflict. “They are still in a new marriage and nursing internal conflict in some UDC affiliates. Lack of proper structures is common in parties in SADC region. UDC needs to have a committee which works on conflict or veterans onboard,” he said.

The verse reads, “One day two women came to King Solomon, and one of them said, Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us. One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son. “No!” the other woman shouted. “He was your son. My baby is alive. The dead baby is yours, the first woman yelled. Mine is alive. They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said, “Both of you say this live baby is yours.  Someone bring me a sword. A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, cut the baby in half. That way each of you can have part of him. Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.

The other woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby. Solomon said, don’t kill the baby. Then he pointed to the first woman, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her. Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realised that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly. 

The nation is patiently waiting to see whether Boko will apply the same wisdom that King Solomon did. This is to give hope to members of UDC who are losing trust everyday in the party leadership about lack of intervention in the BMD wars. In his conclusion Boko said, “I will differ with Solomon on this one. I am not dividing anybody. I am not dismembering any organisation. That is not going to be my solution. My solution is that the child must live un-touched not dismembered. All the parties that are fighting for the child, your job is to make sure this child is not dismembered. That’s my thinking. My vision is to unite the opposition not to break them up. That’s what Botswana National Front exists for. A ngwana a tshele.”

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