Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has accused Botswana People’s Party (BPP) of betraying them in their survival struggle within the coalition movement.BMD was last week expelled from Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), following its suspension in September this year. BMD, which has been enjoying the support of BPP within the UDC especially at leadership level has now found itself out in the cold fighting as a lone ranger.
The relationship between the two has been one of the stumbling blocks for other contracting partners- Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) to bulldoze the BMD especially during National Executive Committee meetings.Things have now taken a nasty twist when a decision to suspend BMD was taken in September. The BMD, following the suspension, has maintained that BPP was on its side until BPP President publicly declared that they stand by the NEC decision.
This week BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane could not describe what really happened to their good friends. He revealed that BPP is better placed to explain what really went wrong.“They are the ones who can tell you what really happened. As BMD, we have played a great role in the recognition of BPP and making it active in UDC activities. When we arrived at the UDC following our Lobatse congress, we enquired as to why BPP was not visible in UDC activities.
We approached them to find out what could be the problem. They laid out their issues with us but we convinced them that they have to be involved in UDC activities even NEC meetings while they pursue their grievances,” Advocate Pilane stated.BPP refrained from UDC activities, including attending NEC meetings on grounds that their queries were not attended to by the party leadership.
One of the issues that the BPP had raised was that they were only allocated four (4) constituencies. The BPP wanted an additional four. While the UDC leadership was reluctant to attend to the matter the BPP turned the tables and never attended the UDC activities. At one point the BPP leader questioned one of the meetings that was sanctioned by UDC President Advocate Duma Boko, saying the meeting was illegal.
The meeting resulted in two of the BPP central committee members being suspended from the party as they were said to have unlawfully attended the meeting and a rally purporting to be representing the BPP. The relationship between BPP and BMD got strengthened then and was cemented when the latter gave the former Francistown West constituency on a silver platter. This was after BMD negotiated for a swap with BCP, in exchange for Maun West.
The new developments, according to Pilane came as a surprise that their friends have joined others to betray them. He said they trusted the BPP as much as they trusted the BNF, whom they have built the UDC together to be the brand it is today. BPP Secretary General Venter Galetshabiwe said there is no betrayal that has been done by his party.
He said the decisions that were taken, from the suspension to the expulsion of the BMD was a collective, following robust deliberation on matters on the table. “You were there when UDC president made the announcements. It was a collective decision and cannot be used against the BPP by other contracting partners as if it was a BPP decision. We abide by that decision and BPP cannot add or subtract anything,” said Galetshabiwe.