UDC: Who is fooling who?

The tri-party coalition, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has been dogged by trouble for some time since its formation in 2012.

The coalition, which is an opposition bloc made up of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party, was formed with the aim to wrestle power from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. But it has failed to live up to expectations, as it has been experiencing internal strife time and again, thereby putting itself on the brink of collapse.

However, following a one-day national executive committee meeting held in Palapye a fortnight ago, the UDC leadership abruptly declared the coalition has achieved peace. Unbelievable! Who exactly are they trying to fool?

Prior to that leadership meeting, the UDC was literally a house engulfed by fire. There were endless and incessant exchanges of unpalatable words amongst members of the affiliates, BCP and BNF, while their respective presidents, Dumelang Saleshando and Duma Boko were also not holding back. All these raised expectations of fireworks at the Palapye meeting.

Although the meeting never turned out to be a peaceful get together, we can never say the UDC has finally found peace. This is because there are so many issues besieging the coalition, which can never be solved in one day.

What is even shocking is that, while Saleshando and Boko held a joint press briefing post the Palapye meet, they have not shared the resolutions of that meeting except to stand on the podium and say there is peace within the umbrella. Unbelievable!

This has all the hallmarks of cosmetic talk written all over it because the body languages from both sides do not suggest a breakthrough in the stalemate.

We know that the issue of the UDC congress remains a ‘hot potato’ amongst affiliates. There is also the ongoing negotiations with other opposition parties outside the UDC bloc, and then they will also be issues of allocation of seats. The issue of discipline amongst members also remains problematic. All of these, have in the past derailed progress within the coalition and could remain so even in future.

If the UDC is to attain power, all must be realistic and face the contentious issues head on without fear. The UDC must iron out all existing problems now and march forward as one unit towards the 2024 general elections.

It is not just enough for the leadership to come out of a one-day meeting and tell us that there is peace within the UDC.

We call upon the UDC to stop the cosmetic talk and work towards rebuilding its brand meaningfully.

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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