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The truth has become the casualty in the BMD schism

BMD delegates
One of the major outcomes of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) schism is a huge iceberg of misinformation that is intended to undermine the prosperity of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and justify the formation of the purple party.

The media, both social and print have been at the centre of this misinformation.

The Patriot on Sunday, of September 17, 2017, under the headline ‘New party takes shape’ proffers an unmitigated opinion of the author of the article that ‘ahead of the 2014 general elections BCP sulked and walked out of the coalition under the false believe that they could go it alone.’

 A columnist, Alex Radisai (false name) in the Sunday Standard 17-23 September, 2017 posits that President Boko has become cosier with the BCP ‘that cost this nation change of government and lost dismally in 2014’. In the same edition of the Sunday Standard, Aobakwe Sekgwa argues that the BCP elected not to join the UDC when there was an opportunity to do so prior to 2014.

This innuendo and propagation on untruths is intended to blemish the good name of the BCP despite that a joint press release was issued on December 22, 2011 by all the four negotiating parties of BCP, BMD, BNF and BPP to effect that the talks, that are popularly referred to as Umbrella I, had collapsed. Subsequent to that, Umbrella II that culminated in the formation of old UDC started while BCP was consulting its general membership about the collapse of Umbrella I. In fact the name ‘Umbrella’ was proposed by BCP at those collapsed negotiations, an idea that was originated by the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) at the 2006 negotiations as a model of cooperation.

It is rather surprising now that some wayward characters in BOFEPUSU lay intellectual claim to the name and model of cooperation of ‘Umbrella’. Batswana are not as forgetful as they may think.

It is common cause that the BCP did not do well in the 2014 general elections. They acknowledge that. They have clearly heard the clarion call by Batswana that the combined effort of opposition parties is inevitable to unseat the moribund and corrupt BDP. BCP fully embraces the idea of an opposition collective towards 2019. Despite this commitment by the BCP, there are those in the media and their friends within the old UDC who keep on harping on what was never an issue in the build up to the 2014 general elections.

To learn from the past is not synonymous with leaving in the past as they want us to believe. It is hard to appreciate this line of thought of keeping on blaming the BCP for what happened preceding 2014 general elections, other than the pull him down mentality. Some people including some media houses have been infected by the legendary hatred of the BCP by Spencer Mogapi. Despite these ill-informed thoughts, BCP has moved. They are members of the new UDC in good standing. Some in the old UDC think Spencer Mogapi and those he is in cahoots with are the paragon of wisdom and should be allowed to set the agenda for the new UDC. They should be warned though.

It will be delusionary to think that Spencer is friendly to and working for UDC, BOFEPUSU or BMD-Nkosinathi for that matter. He is working for someone else. In the fullness of time, the real truth shall come out. Spencer has now aimed his poisonous pen to the new UDC by attacking the integrity of its leader and encouraging at every opportunity Ndaba Gaolathe to form a new party.

Whose bid is Mogapi serving, because any new party outside the new UDC will not bring about change that is so desired by Batswana. The reader should ask themselves, whose interest is he serving? It is clearly foolhardy to divide the opposition because the ultimate beneficiary is the BDP, not the UDC nor the workers of this country as some in the leadership of BOFEPUSU may want people to believe.

Recently, another untruth has been has been making media headlines, that an old UDC transition committee was established to develop a framework and mechanism for accommodating the BCP into the new UDC. It is argued by those making such a claim that, in the absence of the adoption of the transition committee report by the old UDC, BCP has not been properly admitted into the new UDC.

Spencer Mogapi with the help of the midwife opposition cooperation now turned abortionist is once again the sponsor of this hogwash (see Sunday Standard 17-23 September 2017). Maybe we should leave Rre Mpotokwane alone because it is uncultured to say he is walking parallel to the truth when it pertains to the transitional committee matter.

Mpotokwane deserves recognition in respect of his passion for opposition cooperation and for the success of UDC in 2014. This idea of a transition committee that was intended to decide

on how to accommodate the BCP into the new UDC fold is based on the wrong and false premise that BCP was joining the old UDC.

Now here lies the truth. The talks between old UDC and BCP were initiated by a meeting between the leadership of the four opposition parties of BCP, BMD, BNF and BPP in December 2015. That meeting set the ground rules for conducting the next round of negotiations towards 2019. Among the major decisions at that meeting was the negotiations preceding 2019 general elections will be between UDC and BCP, not the different constituents parties of the old UDC. This was out of recognition that the old UDC has coalesced into one unit of opposition parties with 30% of the popular vote and BCP with 20% of the popular vote was a significant player in the national politics.

Further, the performance of the constituent parties of the old UDC as individual entities could not be established since they contested the 2014 general elections as a block. There was never a discussion of BCP joining the old UDC as suggested by Rre Mpotokwane and company. But we won’t fault him much for such a gross misrepresentation because he was not part of that process.  But since he was part of the old UDC NEC, one will assume that he was continuously briefed on these developments.

 The second major decision was that this round of opposition cooperation talks will be self-mediated. Indeed it happened as such. The agreement that was announced at Oasis Motel in February 2017 was a result of a self-mediated process. That clearly shows the maturity and the willingness to succeed on the part of the opposition collective.

There was recognition at the Oasis Motel Press Conference that announced the watershed agreement that some details of the agreement will be worked out at a later stage. Among these were the refinements of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the basis of the agreed principles during negotiation and finalisation of the new UDC constitution on the basis of the agreements during negotiations.

The agreement was that there will be two vice presidents of the UDC, one responsible for organisational management and the other responsible for policy, but equal on stature. This was what the constitution of the new UDC is expected to reflect. Rre Mpotokwane and the ordained priest Cosmos Moenga will not know of these because they were not part of this process. Unlike the 2011/2012 one, I repeat, this one was self-mediated.

The remaining assignments were to be concluded by the new UDC NEC that was constituted through the agreement announced in February 2017 at Oasis Motel, with four representatives each from BCP, BMD, BNF and BPP.

There was never talk of a transition committee. If there was one, it would have been constituted and mandated by the new UDC to carry out the said assignments, not the old UDC. Post the Oasis Motel announcement, the old UDC was no more. Any transition arrangements could not have been discussed without the participation of the BCP because there was new UDC in town. The new UDC included the BCP.

Those who talk about the transition committee and its report are living in dreamland and misdirecting themselves. They need to account for: who developed the terms of reference of the transition committee? What was its composition? To whom was the transition committee supposed to report to?

Moruti Comrade Dr Prince Dibeela, who is mentioned in several quarters as the Chair of the Transition Committee should as honestly as possible explain if indeed he was the Chair of the transition committee. I know he is God fearing. He should explain who he referred to as the Secretary General of the UDC NEC on his cover letter of transition committee report dated May 30, 2017, and its contents that said BCP refused to participate in the transition committee.

Furthermore, the God fearing Dibeela should explain the rational of the email he sent to the BCP on April 6, 2017 and its rationale. That’s where the truth lies. Those going about the approval or lack of it of the transition committee report want to use it to achieve their evil deeds, not for the benefit of the broader UDC family.

The idea of UDC (+) as proposed by BCP was to safeguard the use of old and new UDC interchangeably as and when it suits those want to undermine the UDC project as currently constituted for their own stereotypes and purveyance of hate for the BCP. Now that they have failed to undermine the project, they have trained their notorious guns on Cde Duma Gideon Boko.

Mongwegi Thebetshweu


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