UDC/BMD showdown looms large

Nicholas Mokwena
Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Boko & Pilane Boko & Pilane

Umbrella for Democractic Change (UDC) might have to prepare itself for a rude awakeing from one of its contracting partners, Botswana Movement for Demcoracy (BMD), Botswana Guardian has learnt.

After publicly differing over the issue of constituency ownership, UDC leader Advocate Duma Boko and his Vice President also BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane are headed for yet another showdown this week ahead of the February 24th 2018 UDC Congress. 

Advocate Boko has indicated that all the 57 


constituencies belong to the UDC and the four contracting parties are caretakers of those costituencies. BMD has been alloacted 14 constituencies, Botswana Conress Party (BCP) 17, Botswana National Front 20 and Botswana People’s Party (BPP)’s four (4).  A serious backlash is expected from BMD following its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Molepolole on Sunday. The committee is believed to have agreed that it is high time it came out of the cocoon and begins calling a spade, a spade. 

The committee will take no nonsense from any of the contracting partners because at the end of the day they are ‘equal partners’. In their own words and understanding each party owns 25 percent of space within the UDC. Contention with the contracting partners especially BCP, BMD and BNF revolves around some of the constituencies which have been allocated to the BMD. 

Constituencies causing friction are that of Mogoditshane, Moshupa-Manyana, Maun West and Serowe South. The grand plan according to sources, is to elbow out BMD in these constituencies so that they could be occupied by BNF and BCP. BCP allegedlly want Mogoditshane and Maun West while BNF is eyeing Moshupa-Manyana and Serowe South. 

BMD leaderhip is said to be taking none of that and since having noticed the plan the party has decided to head-hunt strong candidates to be fielded in those constituencies. According to sources, BMD is waiting for the right time to strike and pull a surprise when it announces its candidates especially for parliamentary seats. All the UDC partners are expected to hold their primaries this year after failing to do so last year as was promised.

Last week, BMD Spokesperson Rasina Rasina stated in a press statemet that although the issue of primary elections was discussed at length during a meeting of the National Working Committee, it was however found to be appropriate to escalate such a matter to the NEC, which will statutorily meet to make final determinations on the matter. It is only then that the BMD shall engaage publicly on such.  

The party was expected to make its position known either yeterday (Thursday) or today (Friday). The position is expected to further fragment the coalition movement. Sometimes last year Advocate Pilane indicated during one of his radio interviews that there are issues that he would like to raise regarding the February congress. He explained he would only raise those issues after familiarising himself with the programme for the congress. 

The congress is expected to be a make or break event for the Boko-led UDC which has always claimed stability and unity. For a long time now, UDC has been embroiled in constituency allocation debacle following the admission of BCP into the coalition fold. Last year BPP wanted an additional four (4) constituencies. At that time three of the constituencies allegedly eyed, belonged to BCP being Gweta, Francistwon West and Mmadinare while one belonged to BNF being Gaborone South. 

The BPP had until recently been inactive in UDC activities, constituency allocation being one of its core contentions. At that time it was alleged that the BMD under the leadership of its former President Ndaba Gaolathe was behind the demand as it was interested in constituencies which it would later acquire through swapping with the BPP.  UDC Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa said a UDC split is the product of people’s fertile imaginations. He revealed that the issue of quality representation is not anything new because it has been there even before the coming in of BCP.

“What Boko was saying was just to reiterate what has been there. It is not anything new as people may want to percieve it and is not targeted at any partner. The main aim is to gain power and that can only be realised if we have strong and appealing candidates to win the constituencies and wards,” said Mohwasa who added that the issues would be discussed at the congress scheduled for next month in Gaborone.


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