FRANCISTOWN: It is time for the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) a four-party opposition coalition, which has been rocked by a series of disputes and infighting, to split.
This is according to political analyst Leonard Sesa. The University of Botswana (UB) political science lecturer is amongst pundits who have often maintained that the UDC will not stand the test of time owing to very vast ideological differences and the big brother mentality often displayed by the contracting parties. Sesa’s present remarks came in the wake of a recently heated exchange between Botswana Congress Party (BCP) president Dumelang Saleshando and Sidney Pilane who is the president of the BMD in a UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) WhatsApp group.
The heated exchange between the two leaders went viral on social media. The conversation highlighted issues of mistrust and lack of unity within the UDC.
“The recent leaked WhatsApp conversation amongst the NEC members of the UDC shows that the relationship between leaders of the coalition is irretrievably broken. “I do not see the coalition functioning effectively again following the leaked conversation. I think the best thing for the UDC leaders to do is to go public and acknowledge that they have failed Batswana. They have to be honest to the electorates. The UDC is dead,” Sesa said yesterday, adding that the new UDC has never functioned normally. According to him, the UDC is headed for a humiliating defeat at the next year general elections because it has not even started preparing for the elections where it will face a strong and well-resourced Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
“If the UDC does not disband, I do not see the end of internal squabbles, which means that they will
“They should split and each party should focus on salvaging what it can at the next general elections,” he said, adding that the BDP will certainly not lose power in 2019. Sesa further said that following the leaked conversation, it is highly inevitable that some Batswana who had pinned their hopes on the UDC have changed their minds. “The conversation went viral. It is a given that the level of hostility and intolerance shown by the leaders in the conversation has resulted in severe loss of confidence towards the UDC by the members of the public,” he said. In the conversation Saleshando and Pilane labelled each other thieves and used not so polite language.
When the BCP joined the UDC last year, there was strong optimism that the coalition is best-placed to tap into growing the resentment and corruption scandals associated with the ruling BDP in order to clinch power.
However, in recent months the UDC project has been clouded by reports that it is in a dire situation owing to intractable internal squabbles amongst its members and leaders. UDC president Duma Boko has often maintained that the opposition coalition is still intact, but the leaked conversation of the UDC NEC showed a very strong rift within the party. The BDP on the other hand has appeared to be on a mission to redeem itself.
In recent months there have been calls from both the BCP and Botswana National Front members that the coalition should disband.