The differences between Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have built up to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) level in the lower structures at the University of Botswana (UB) student politics.
During the recent UB Student Representative Council (SRC) polls, the BNF Mass grouping decided to contest in partnership with the Alliance for Progressives student group (AP), a non-coalition member, a move that appears to have offended the opposition bloc’s latest member.
“Ever since the BCP became a part of the UDC, our student branch at UB has always contested for SRC elections alongside other UDC-aligned student formations. Though AP is not a member of the UDC, the BNF for reasons best known to them, excluded the BCP in favour of a non-member. Numerous efforts to resolve the misunderstanding proved futile,” BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando said.
“Motswana a re go nale mo go tweng ‘go sekelwa ke ditshoswane’. Our colleagues know that what they did was an attack on the UDC. They need not be told by anyone. UDC will self-correct or it faces collapse, finish and klaar,” Saleshando said.
He added that some UDC leaders who participated in legitimising the actions of some who undermine the opposition cooperation are most regrettable. Saleshando said this, however, cannot be the basis for quitting the UDC as some may wish to see such happening. The UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa said: “We became aware just before the SRC elections. The rift between the UBCD and Mass
The UDC spokesperson added that what was important was the Moono wa Baithuti victory. He continued: “If it wasn’t due to the above reason we could have attended to the grievances that were raised by both Mass and UBCD. If the interest is to unite and go to the 2024 General Election as a unit, I do not understand how the UB incident can cause a major rift. Our relationship should not be defined by one or two infractions if any. It is a question of doing better next time.
Note that we are not apportioning any blame, but saying we could ensure that we present a semblance of unity in our actions and speech.”
In addition, Mohwasa said Batswana want a united and mature opposition and this will be defined by how they deal with their differences.