It became evident during the President’s holidays when Botswana National Front (BNF) members were in an uncompromising mood, as they took resolutions binding their party.
To ensure their seriousness, the members gave their party 21 days to implement their conference resolution, and if the party central committee faced any challenges, they should come back to the members who would then give the central committee direction.
This, according to pundits, simply means the members are calling for special congress. The congress resolved that the process of the new Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constitution should be concluded within 21 days.
The four affiliates of UDC include BNF, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP).
And since BMD has consistently not be responsive to have bilateral issues addressed with them, they resolved to have joint primary elections under UDC in all the parliamentary and council seats allocated to the BMD in 2014, except where it holds incumbency.
If it then fails, the BNF should assume the leadership of these constituencies and wards. They said the UDC congress would be the final arbiter of the issue.
Although the other two affiliates of UDC are unhappy with the new UDC constitution and intend to challenge it at court, the BNF and BCP members are clear about not entertaining court litigations since political issues are supposed to be resolved politically and time is not on their side to run around courts.
The members of the two parties believe that they would rather have bilateral talks amongst themselves. The two parties need a special congress to get that mandate. At the conference, some members said the BMD issues are wasting their time to campaign for 2019.
However the UDC president, Duma Boko told his party members in Rakops over the holidays that UDC problems call for sober minds and cool heads to diagnose what the problems are. “What is it that presently troubles the UDC? We must be very careful and very meticulous in determining what the problems are. We must do this
He said an appreciation of these basic facts must then bring them to realisation that they carry huge responsibilities to ensure that they deliver success and victory in any and all of the constituencies that have been entrusted to them.
“It means UDC will have the final say yet on the candidates and the conditions required for our collective success in each of the constituencies. It also means we must scrutinise each constituency and examine carefully every fact and circumstance to enable us to objectively assess our prospects in each and agree what it must take for us to win,” Boko said.
Boko’s concerns aside, the majority parties in the UDC seem to have taken a position that they are not going to entertain Sidney Pilane-led BMD any longer, argues political analyst Anthony Morima.
“Both BNF and BCP resolutions want to get rid of BMD. The two parties now feel that BMD is a burden to them and it does not want to work well with the two parties at all,” he said.
Morima noted that, “the deadline that the members had given to UDC for all problems within it to be resolved by mid-August is not workable. They know that they will reach deadlock and that means getting rid of BMD. BMD has been given significance that it doesn’t deserve and that is why it keeps on holding UDC at ransom. This shows that the two parties are serious”.