P30m windfall for UDC

Nicholas Mokwena BG reporter
Monday, 22 October 2018
DA leader, Mmusi Maimane DA leader, Mmusi Maimane

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) might lose out on a USD 3million (P30 million) windfall for the 2019 general election campaign should it fail to resolve its internal fights and forge ahead to expel Botswana Movement for Democracy.

Democratic Alliance (DA) and African Liberal Network (ALN) are said to have offered to mediate in Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) impasse which has polarised the coalition movement beyond reproach. UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) has since suspended BMD and speculation has been rife that the party might be expelled. 

DA has bilateral relations with BMD and both are members of ALN. According to information reaching this publication DA President Mmusi Maimane and ALN leader Stevens Mokgalapa met with BMD leader Advocate Sidney Pilane in South Africa this past Sunday where they shared their desire to break the impasse.This publication has it on good authority that both the DA and ALN are prepared to commit about USD 3 million (P30 million) to the UDC 2019 election campaign but that can only happen if BMD is part of UDC.

The relationship between UDC and ALN-DA is consequent to BMD being part of the coalition.BMD has been accusing their partners in the UDC- Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) of using Advocate Pilane as a scapegoat for the UDC problems. BMD has been suspended on claims that its president has not received warm welcome from the public and members of the UDC.

Insiders within the BMD have revealed to this publication that a faction within the BMD NEC has initiated the talks with DA and ALN to intervene. This is said to have happened a fortnight ago. Information gathered suggest that Advocate Pilane seemed at the Sunday meeting to be willing to concede as Mokgalapa and Maimane persuaded him to consider letting go of some of the constituencies and wards for the sake of progress in the UDC.

Since the split of BMD which saw the formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP), there has been calls within the UDC for BMD to release some of its constituencies since the split has affected its capability to deliver on the 13 constituencies allocated it. BMD was yesterday (Thursday 18th) scheduled to make representation regarding the suspension. The party has since indicated that the suspension is a nullity and the grounds raised for the suspension are of no basis.

Following the Sunday meeting Maimane and Mokgalapa are said to have proposed to meet UDC President Advocate Duma Boko upon his return from Geneva where he traveled on Parliament official business. The meeting is expected to discuss the outcome of the meeting with the BMD leader and what can be done going forward to resolve the UDC problems.

BMD National Spokesperson Rasina Rasina said he is constrained to discuss the matter and referred all enquiries to Advocate Pilane, who could not be reached as his mobile phone rang unanswered. However, ALN leader Mokgalapa confirmed to this publication in a telephonic interview that they did meet Advocate Pilane on the UDC matter.

“We met the BMD President and Secretary General Gilbert Mangole in Pretoria on Sunday. We are worried about the current situation in the UDC. We are going to be meeting UDC President on Friday when he returns because he has travelled abroad. We will meet him at the airport before he connects a flight to Botswana,” said Mokgalapa.

He revealed that they could not meet Advocate Boko when he left for Geneva because of time constraints when he was connecting flights at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The ALN leader meanwhile refuted claims that they have committed funding to the UDC 2019 election campaign. “That is not true we have not committed any funding to UDC.

Remember only BMD in the coalition is a member of ALN. Other members of the UDC are not. We only have a relationship with them because we strongly believe in opposition coalition. We are only assisting in capacity building and strategies,” Mokgalapa pointed out.

During the February 2018 UDC Congress at Boipuso Hall Maimane told members of the media that UDC is a viable project and the DA would do all it can to help the UDC win the 2019 general elections. He stated that with a united opposition possibility of taking over power from Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is very likely. He explained that they would assist with strategies for campaigns and other resources including funding.

DA and ALN are said to have started work on campaign strategies for the UDC and an analysis has been made on how the election should be approached. Advocate Boko also last month revealed that a team of experts is working on the campaign strategy for the UDC which will ensure the coalition wins the 2019 general election.

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