Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has rolled its sleeves in an effort to launch a vigorous multimillion Pula campaign against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party ahead of this year’s general elections, Botswana Guardian has learnt. In its multi-million-pula campaign, the political movement has enlisted the expertise of a renowned political campaign specialist firm from South Africa. UDC has appointed the consultants- Status, an internationally recognised political campaigning specialists to assist them with the October elections.
Status Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Madelain Roscher has revealed that their organisation has had significant campaigning successes across Africa, “through integrated political war room solutions that incorporate a host of strategies including traditional Public Relations, new and social media, marketing, and direct campaigning methods.” He explained that Status is expected to assist the UDC leadership in communicating its vision for change, true empowerment, inclusion and development, and through its unified front and diversified leaders, the party will continue to represent the voices and the views of Batswana.
UDC has chosen the theme Bokopano jwa Bokamoso (Unity for the Future) as its campaign theme. In an exclusive interview following the crafting of the campaign theme, UDC President Advocate Duma Boko said, “the theme is aimed at every Motswana who wants to see change happen now. The BDP has been in power since 1966, which if you look at our country’s slow economic growth, absence of innovative leadership, lack of fiscal opportunity and unacceptable unemployment rates, is 53 years too long,” he explained and further elaborated: “If we want to propel Botswana into the future as the economic Gem of Africa, we need to vote for unity; we need to vote for change.
We require the people of our country to speak up about wanting more but more so, to demand change. We cannot continue to allow defunct leaders to run Botswana into the ground for personal gain. To achieve Unity for the Future, we need to be honest about the failures of our present government to ensure that our future leaders do not repeat the same mistakes.” The UDC leader stated that Bokopano jwa Bokamoso speaks to transition; by way of a comprehensive change in government, policy and a shift in mindset from the president to the people on the street. This message according to Advocate Boko addresses the future aspirations of Botswana, transitioning from a traditional mindset to a growth mindset.
“The Botswana of the future must get our adults working, our young people schooling, international stakeholders investing, and ultimately, everybody innovating. The UDC, our leadership and I are committed to always remain inspired by the people’s needs and to lead Botswana into a bright, prosperous and inclusive unity for the future,” he posited. He stated that as the UDC they believe in a united opposition, adding that the future of politics is aggregation, to bring different ideologies together.
RELATIONSHIP WITH STATUS
Advocate Boko said the Firm will be involved almost in everything that the UDC does. He however pointed out that Status did not craft the message. “We crafted the message and their job is to help us reach our targeted voter. In a campaign like this you have to get the gurus to do the job for you. Status is full on campaign and we know they would deliver an efficient world class campaign.
They have been here to do few assessments and they would continue to deploy their people here to work with us on this campaign,” he said. Status’ recent engagement was in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they assisted in the campaign of Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress opposition party which won the long-delayed presidential election in January 2019. Advocate Boko expressed confidence that if Status could manage the difficult terrains of the DRC, then it should not be a difficult assignment for Botswana. He said Status would do all the test on the ground in the country adding that politics is about marketing and one has to get experts to take out the message.
He would not be drawn into discussing how much the consultancy costs. As for the campaign, he admits that it will be costly and running into millions. He said as the UDC they will come up with a mechanism of raising funds to run the campaign. He explains that he has been engaging with the party’s foot soldiers and is convinced that they would be able to capture the message and deliver it to Batswana. Advocate Boko pointed out that UDC members would own the campaign and not the leadership. He said they would also ask their friends to assist with funding for the campaign. “You can do your estimates for the campaign, it would need a lot of money.
I mean if BDP could need close to a billion Pula while they have resources at their disposal what of us who do not have resource backing. We will ask around and I would also on my official social media pages would be asking for donations,” he said. He revealed that from April 22, he would be engaging in a fierce 10 days campaign where he will visit at least 20 constituencies. As the party preparing to take over power you must have network across the country so that you could gauge your strength, he said.
ADVOCATE BOKO THE FACE
OF THE CAMPAIGN
On being followed by controversy especially on the issues of tax, Advocate Boko said in terms of transparency and good governance, false allegations and mudslinging are often common practice during campaign periods. He indicated that he is adamant that as a public figure, his life is always open to public scrutiny. “I chose a life as a public servant so if anyone has any doubt about my professional or personal conduct, I welcome them to look into my affairs and to investigate any concerns. I have nothing to hide.” He added that dishonest accusations about tax evasion, child support, physical threats, intimidation tactics and influenced pressure will not keep him from advocating for change in Botswana. According to Advocate Boko there is no issue of tax evasion. He explained the issue is tax compliance and the taxman did not have to necessarily act the way he did when dealing with his (Boko) tax issue.
“They could have simply called me to their office if they had an issue. They were not supposed to have driven all the way to my house and called journalist to witness as they tried to turn my house upside-down. This tax compliance issue is not something new, it dates as far back as 2012. So, the people that I left with the business when I focused on my political career could not comply for reason known to them. So, people should not make it look like it is a new thing.
There are people who owe more than the P500 000 but BURS is made to run around chasing Advocate Boko. Do you think senior government officials and members of the BDP leadership and their cronies do not owe tax and even more than what I owe, you will be shocked. They are after me because their weak leader Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi is freaked out,” said Advocate Boko. He said what the government of the day is doing is far from obeying the rule of law.
He said he would not be detracted by the mudsling because his followers in the UDC understand and trust him so much.