Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando has rubbished reports that his party is the main instigator of problems within Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).BCP, a contracting partner in the UDC, has been accused by colleagues - Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) - for being the root cause of the problems that the current UDC find itself faced with.
BMD was last month suspended from the UDC to give it an opportunity to introspect as its leader Advocate Sidney Pilane is being resented by the public as well as UDC rank and file. BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole revealed during a political rally in Mochudi that troubles started when BCP came into the picture.
According to Mangole before the arrival of BCP there was peace and respect among contracting partners being BMD, Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party. He said they decided to welcome BCP into the UDC fold after the former felt the wrath of electorates during the 2014 general elections. “In the build up to the 2014 general elections all the three parties that made up UDC were like a family.
We negotiated peacefully and with understanding. We respected each other and there was no big brother mentality. But since the coming of the BCP things changed and that is why we find ourselves where we are today. “It is because of people who just came yesterday and have not contributed or invested in the UDC,” Mangole said. However, according to Saleshando the BCP should not take the blame for the UDC mess.
He is of the view that BMD is the problem. He pointed out during an interview with this publication that the highest level political turmoil can only be traced to the time when the BMD went for its congress in Bobonong in July last year. There was bloodbath during the clash of the party’s two factions - one led by Ndaba Gaolathe and the other by Advocate Pilane.
Two parallel congresses were held and produced two National Executive Committees. According to Saleshando this is what should be a clear example of political turmoil, which occurred in the absence of the BCP. But Mangole differs. He maintains that the BCP played a part in the split of the BMD, which saw the formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP) when Gaolathe and team dumped the BMD to form AP late last year.
Mangole who is also Member of Parliament for Mochudi West explained that Advocate Pilane was at the forefront of recruiting the BCP into the UDC. He posited that BCP encouraged them to go to Bobonong and ensure that Gaolathe and team do not take the leadership of the BMD. “They pleaded with us to ensure that we take the BMD leadership. They supported us because they knew that Gaolathe and team do not need them in the UDC. They used us to fight their battles.
“Because we wanted them in the UDC which is a project of Batswana we ensured that we fight with our colleagues. It is not nice that we have lost the likes of Gaolathe because of the BCP especially its leadership,” Mangole hit out. Saleshando dismissed as unfounded and shallow these claims by the BMD. “We have heard of such claims from them. I mean the funding which they say we extended to them to fight their colleagues clearly shows that they are not fit to be in politics,” Saleshando told this publication.
The UDC has for a long time not found peace especially within its leadership. The tension has now pitted the BMD against the BCP. Speculation is rife that come next week or before end of the month BMD - which is to make representation before UDC NEC - might be expelled from the coalition movement. BMD has however indicated that it would fight to the bitter end because it has invested a lot into the UDC project.