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Opposition playing dice with Batswana’s future

MMEGI EDITOR
It is just over a year before the 2019 general elections, but Botswana has no credible opposition party to challenge the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for power.

With all due respect to the newly formed opposition, the Alliance for Progressives (AP), which looks stable but an untried infant without any experience of contesting general elections, the disturbing reality is that there is no other party to challenge the BDP in the coming elections, a situation too bad for democracy.

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), a coalition between four Botswana opposition parties, is on the brink of collapse following key resolutions made by two of the main contracting parties, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) over the weekend.

UDC was expected to mount a serious challenge to topple BDP from government in the next elections. However, the current scenario makes it seem to be a far-fetched thought.

UDC president, Duma Boko has a mammoth task to convince the contracting partners to get together back on the table and try to rebuild in less than a year what took years to build.

Hard as it may look, Boko has to do something to convince the parties in the umbrella to see each other as partners and mates going into a tough battle, not enemies.

The fight over ones’ constituencies is uncalled for. Although no party should do the spadework for others or carry the burdens of others, they should understand the model under which the umbrella intended to work and succeed in order to triumph over the stubborn

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BDP.

There seems to be no tolerance and appreciation for each other’s problems within the UDC. It is even problematic if leaders are embroiled in the fighting and are hurling insults at one another in the public. Unless the leadership realises that no opposition party can defeat the well-resourced BDP on its own, then we can safely say we have no opposition. Time is ticking for the umbrella leadership to put its house in order. Shifting the blame poles time and again will not do the ‘people’s project’ any good but more harm.

The Botswana Movement for Democracy and the Botswana People’s Party should also accept that realistically they do not offer a lot to the UDC as the other partners.

They should not be stubborn and build their ailing movements so that they are not referred to as empty shells. Building the umbrella has been a tough test on its own already, but it is the partners who are making it a hell of a test. We urge the leaders to find it in their selves to agree on the way forward for the sake of the country’s democracy.

 

Today’s thought 

“There is no denying that Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is broken and needs to be fixed. The question that this conference has to address is how the UDC can be fixed.” 

– Botswana Congress Party leader,  Dumelang Saleshando



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