UDC in disarray

Nicholas Mokwena
Wednesday, 09 August 2017
HARD TIMES... UDC and BNF President Boko, BCP President Saleshando and Taolo Lucas at Oasis on Wednesday to deliberate on issues conscening UDC in relation to the split BMD. HARD TIMES... UDC and BNF President Boko, BCP President Saleshando and Taolo Lucas at Oasis on Wednesday to deliberate on issues conscening UDC in relation to the split BMD.

It is now official; Botswana Movement for Democracy virus has spread into the opposition coalition - Umbrella for Democratic Change whose leadership appears divided over the Orange Movement.

Contracting partners of the UDC- Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) this week Wednesday held a scheduled meeting at Oasis Hotel in Tlokweng to discuss among others, the problems afflicting their colleague, the BMD. 

The BMD is currently paralysed after the party held parallel elective congresses in Bobonong where two different National Executive Committees were elected.

On Wednesday a fractured UDC executive committee met at Oasis to deliberate on the BMD issue. Botswana Guardian can safely confirm that BPP was not part of the meeting. Only the BCP and the BNF convened in the meeting that started at 10:30AM and was adjourned at 12:30PM. 

The meeting was attended by among others BNF President Duma Boko and Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and UDC’s Treasurer Dennis Alexander and Taolo Lucas who is UDC’s additional member from the BCP.

According to the current UDC agreement, each party has been given one slot for an additional member to the UDC Executive Committee. It has since emerged that the BPP snubbed the meeting in support of the expelled BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe. 

Gaolathe has been expelled together with his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi. According to sources, the Gaolathe faction met on Tuesday night in Gaborone at Falcon Crest and agreed with BPP to snub Wednesday’s UDC meeting. 

The possibility of forming a new party was discussed at the aforesaid meeting. BPP, especially its leader Motlatsi Molapisi, is a known staunch supporter of Gaolathe. It is said that at the Tuesday meeting the Gaolathe-led faction promised to work with BPP once a new party is formed. The Gaolathe faction has left three options open; going to court; wait for UDC intervention or form a new party.

The majority agreed that they should wait for the outcome of the UDC leadership but if it does not favour them then a new party should be formed. The meeting came after Gaolathe BMD NEC addressed party members this past weekend. Out of the 12 addressed regions, nine (9) called for the formation of a new party, Botswana Guardian has established.

Speaking to Botswana Guardian over the phone after the meeting BPP President who is also UDC Chairman claimed ignorance of the meeting. “I am in Francistown as we speak and I know nothing about the meeting. I was never informed about the meeting. Mohwasa only called me this morning asking how far I am and I told him I know nothing about the meeting or even the agenda,” said the veteran politician. 

He dismissed claims that they snubbed the meeting because they are in support of Gaolathe. He stated that the reason why there is even no one other than him from the BPP attending the meeting clearly shows that there was no communication to the BPP about the meeting. Molapisi has been vocal about the need for intervention by UDC leadership in the BMD mess.

UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa confirmed that BPP did not make it to the meeting. Mohwasa however said there could have been a misunderstanding of the invitations to the meeting. 

“When I enquired they explained that they did not understand the context of the communication. They said they did not know if only presidents are to attend or all members of the executive should attend,” said Mohwasa. 

The UDC spokesperson stated that the BMD matter formed part of the agenda but could not be dealt with because the BPP was not in attendance. He explained that BMD could not be part of the meeting because of the party’s current situation. 

“So our next meeting would be held on the 12th of August in Francistown where the BMD matter would be discussed. The only thing we discussed about the BMD issue is that on top of receiving two reports from both groups, we have also received a letter from the other group from its Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale asking for UDC intervention. So what would be happening (is that) we would be writing to the other group to inform them about this development and ask for their input,” said Mohwasa adding that all the three parties will attend the Francistown meeting.

BMD-Gaolathe led NEC Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale could not be reached for comment at press time. Part of the problems that the UDC is facing is disagreements between BCP and BMD which date back to 2012. Under the current arrangement BMD is said to have been against BCP joining the UDC. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when the BCP was given the 17 constituencies and Vice Presidency of the UDC. 

At one point when BPP wanted three of BCP’s constituencies it was alleged to be acting in cahoots with BMD with the aim that BPP would later hand them to BMD. BPP enjoyed the support of the BMD during the first Umbrella negotiations, which founded UDC in 2012. BMD at that time was said to have been considering having BPP under its wing through group membership.


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