Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), a political alliance between three opposition parties- is beginning to show some cracks, which many believe might break it.
The alliance between Botswana Movement for Democratic Change [BMD], Botswana National Front [BNF] and Botswana Peoples Party [BPP], which was hailed as the national project and had the blessings of civic societies and trade unions, is now taking a nosedive as the 2014 general election draws near.
Currently the party has to come up with a new party symbol. The Independent Electoral Commission turned down the one they are using because it has symbols of existing political parties. The parties agreed to de-register their symbols but some BNF members have applied to court to stop the deregistration of the party symbol from IEC. The case, which is still before the court seems to be posing a serious threat to the UDC as some members from BMD want out of the alliance. There is confusion within the umbrella as they are not sure whether they will contest the election under UDC or their respective parties as they do during bye-elections.
BNF’s Temporary Platform
The platform existed even during Otsweletse Moupo’s era ahead of the 2009 election and are back to haunt Duma Boko’s leadership after they lost at the party’s elective congress in Ghanzi. The Temporary Platform, led by Dr Elmon Tafa and Mogalakwe Mogalakwe, has resurfaced and vowed to ensure that the party loses the 2014 election. Their stance and that of Gabriel Kajabanga and Lemogang Ntime has sent shivers down the spines of contracting partners who now fear BNF problems might derail the project. Another BNF stalwart Michael Mzwinila has compounded the problem by stating that he will contest as an independent candidate in Tonota South.
Exodus-movement of BMD people
Since its formation in 2010, BMD has lost most of its members who have since rejoined Botswana Democratic Party [BDP]. Most of its founders have traced their steps back to BDP and the party is just the shadow of itself. The defection of BMD leaders to BDP has given BCP and other BNF leaders fear that it is going to derail opposition parties. Some BNF members who were later suspended and expelled like Isaac Mabiletsa, Kanjabanga, Kagiso Ntime and others were skeptical of BMD strength. Recently one BNFYL leader Malatsi Mokhubane who is the publicity secretary was quoted as saying BMD must show its numbers as it is rocked by defections. BMDYL President Phenyo Segokgo contended that even BNF is experiencing defections. The public spat between the two youth leaders signalled the emergence of internal cracks within the alliance. The argument came after BMD lost councillors in Francistown.
Mohwasa on a silent mode
In its formative times, UDC appointed BNF spin-doctor Moeti Mohwasa as its spokesperson and successfully parried away insinuations that the umbrella would fail. After the flop of the UDC launch in Selebi Phikwe, the once responsive spin-doctor referred all questions about the absence of BNF president at the launch to UDC secretary general Gomolemo Motswaledi. During the recent press conference in Francistown addressed by Motswaledi to launch their candidate for Francistown West, BNF leadership was conspicuously absent. Efforts to get comment from Mohwasa were fruitless at the time of going to press, as he did not pick up his phone.