New rift opens between UDC and BPF

UDC members PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
UDC members PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

FRANCISTOWN: A new fault line has opened between one affiliate of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). In 2020, the UDC which is made up of Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP), entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its erstwhile partner, Alliance for Progressives (AP) before the BCP joined the UDC, and BPF to cooperate in all future by-elections.

When the MoU was signed, the parties were cognisant of the spirit and purpose of the agreement was/is to ensure electoral gains, success and victory in any by-election, each of the contracting parties is enjoined both in the selection of candidates and the mounting of the campaigns to uphold this spirit. It further states that the contracting parties recognise that continuing cooperation in all by-elections will strengthen their commitment to party-to-party- relationships and working to increase the understanding of Batswana about social, economic and political problems confronting Botswana. The UDC, AP and BPF therefore, made a commitment that between the years 2020 and the next general election in 2024, where a by-election (may it be local or parliamentary) is to be held, the contracting parties shall not contest against each other.

The determination as to which of the contracting parties contests any by-election shall be based on the following: in the order in which they appear: (i) whether the contracting party had won the said vacant seat in the 2019 general election or nay subsequent election thereto, (ii) whether the contracting party had attained 75% or more of the number of votes attained by the winning candidates in the vacant position who had represented a political party that is not a signatory to this agreement, and where one of the contracting parties has obtained this threshold, that party shall contest on behalf of the contracting parties, (iii) where one of the above applies, then the determination shall be made by the By-elections Joint Committee (JoC) established in terms of this agreement in the consultation with the local structures, says the MoU. “Any party dissatisfied with the decision of the by-elections Joint Committee (JoC) shall, within 48 hours of the delivery of the decision of the by-elections JoC, lodge its appeal with the Contracting Parties Leaders Forum (CPLF), which is composed of presidents of the contracting parties, whose decision shall be final...” further states the MoU. During the 2019 general election, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the Lorolwane ward with 591 votes followed by the UDC, BPF and an independent candidate with 275, 148 and 30 votes respectively. The combined votes of the UDC and BPF in the ward during the 2019 elections was 423 minus the votes attained by the independent candidate but could be 453 if the votes of the independent candidate are factored in.

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