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Analysts endorse calls for Boko's removal

CHAKALISA DUBE
UDC Elections Petitions: UDC lawyer and President Duma Boko (left) PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
FRANCISTOWN: In the wake of the Botswana Congress Party Youth League (BCPYL)’s rebellion demanding for the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president Duma Boko to step down, analysts are steadfast that he should vacate the position.

Recently BCPYL enthusiastically declared that the UDC president Boko should step down.

The BCPYL said Boko failed to come up with strategies that have electoral traction, which is why the opposition coalition performed badly in the 2019 general election.

Speculation is soaring that the BCPYL want BCP president Dumelang Saleshando to take over as the presidency of the opposition coalition.

Saleshando is currently the vice president of the UDC. Some have even alleged that the supreme BCP leadership is behind the position of the youth league (BCPYL).  With the UDC as the main opposition in Parliament, Saleshando is also the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

In context the BCP youth said that it believes that going forward a UDC led by Boko would be less preferable and non-appealing to the masses.

The move sparked a war of words between the BCPYL and some Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) members. The BNFYL said that criticism leveled against Boko was unreasonable.

The general consensus among the BNF youth is that leading to the 2019 general election, UDC was more appealing to the voters. The BNFYL believes that keeping Boko who has the ability to mobilise resources can help maintain momentum within the UDC something that might increase the coalition’s vote share at the 2024 general elections.

This week, political analyst and University of Botswana (UB) senior lecturer in politics, Dr Kebapetse Lotshwao, concurred with the BCPYL’s position that the UDC needs a new leader who will give the party a new direction.

Lotshwao stated that the world over political leaders step down when they have presided over an election loss as a matter of principle. He said that stepping down allows a new leader to take over and bring in new ideas meant to transform as well rebuild the party.

“ His time is up. He must give others a chance. He twice led the UDC to an election loss. Under him, the party has also failed to capitalise on the goodwill it has enjoyed since 2014.”

Lotshwao also said that the fact the UDC lost its traditional stronghold constituencies at the 2019 general election is a strong suggestion that something might be wrong with Boko’s leadership.

The UB academic is of the view that ‘there is need for a

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new leader to take over the party’.

“ Vacating the position of the president does not necessarily mean that he will be lost to the UDC. He still has a lot to offer to the coalition. Former BNF president Otsweletse Moupo stepped down from the BNF after the 2009 general election and this to some extent helped the party to revatilise itself,” analysed Lotshwao.

He added: “ It even happened recently in the UK where the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stepped down after his party lost the elections. His move was motivated by desire to see the party bringing in a new leader who is responsible for rebuilding the party.” 

Lotshwao noted that the fact that Boko’s party (BNF) also performed badly at the 2019 general elections to some extent suggests that he did not do some of the things correctly. That is why ‘it is ideal for Boko to step down’.

Another political analyst Leonard Sesa concurred with Lotshwao. Sesa is also a political science lecturer at the UB. 

“ The UDC is a tried and tested organisation. All that is needed is fresh leadership with new ideas that can help it intensely prepare for the primaries,” Sesa said. 

He added that Boko can only stay provided a majority in the UDC wants him to remain as the president. “ A leader is chosen by his people. If he is still in demand he can stay,” Sesa said.

Sesa added that it would be suicidal to keep Boko solely based on the fact that he has the ability to mobilise resources that can keep the UDC going.

“ You will have to understand that he has always been accused of not accounting for where he get the resources. Such accusations may resurface if he is retained as president mainly on account of his ability to mobilise resources to keep the coalition going. This might create unrest within the coalition,” he said. 

Sesa said, “What is key is for the UDC partners is to regroup as soon as possible and discuss whatever differences they might have.”

“Resolving their differences earlier would help them start preparations for the 2024 elections earlier. They stand a better chance of doing very well if they start election preparations earlier.”



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