UDC, BPF two step-dance; a marriage made in hell

16 Sep 2019

It was always a matter of time before the limitations of a UDC and BPF romance were exposed.

Consorting with Botswana Patriotic Front has for UDC been a strategic and even fatal mistake.

That relationship will lead to Umbrella for Democratic Change losing a large vote that was naturally theirs; of people who cannot tolerate Khama because they know the ravage he has brought to their country and their lives.

But for now, that really is a much smaller story. There is a bigger and more immediate story playing out behind the scenes.

That has everything to do with continued existence of both the Botswana National Front and the Botswana Congress Party post elections.

To start with the foundation of UDC is as rickety as ever, with some of the contracting partners saying they wish elections were tomorrow so that they could leave the UDC and bring their persecution to an expedited end.

Many in both camps are resigned to the fact that cooperation between BNF and BCP would formally come to an end the morning after elections.

Worse than a marriage of convenience, this really has in every characteristic been a forced marriage.

The UDC is in sorry state of disarray. The fact that up to this last minute they still talk about forming a government speaks to their insatiable hunger for power.

For more honest and serious-minded ones, the knowledge that elections are scheduled for next month is the only thing keeping them put.

Otherwise some of them are not even in talking terms.

It has been a harrowing few years for the BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando.

Taking his BCP into the UDC has brought nothing but misery.

A governance culture that is alien to the BCP has disoriented him and his party.

Exactly the base instincts that include personality cult that first led to a break away and eventual formation of the BCP in 1998 when they left the BNF are still alive and well.

Saleshando must now be asking himself the wisdom of expending so much effort to get rid of both Ndaba Gaolathe and Sidney Pilane from the UDC.

It has been a hollow victory.

His real enemy, it now turns out has been the Botswana National Front and its leader, Duma Boko, ably assisted by the party’s militia-like fanatics.

Back to UDC and the BPF!

Their relationship resembles a dance of death - in all its moves and calibrations.

The UDC wants to go all out in attack of President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Botswana Democratic Party.

But they are worried to ensure that any attacks on Masisi and the BDP, should explicitly exclude Khama and the ten years that he was in power.

It is an impossible undertaking that is difficult to sell as a coherent strategy.

Quite actively, the UDC is providing Khama with a cover he so much needs against possible criminal prosecution.

It has been a bumpy two years for Khama.

Were it not for the incoherent UDC love for him Khama would most likely have long joined his buddy Isaac Kgosi as a fugitive abroad.

UDC deputy leader is quoted saying their priority now is to prosecute Masisi for his role in the national Petroleum Fund.

They are no longer saying anything on prosecuting Khama and/or Isaac Kgosi.

UDC has had to realign their world to Khama’s.

Khama is inherently divisive. And his impact on UDC will inevitable be felt long after elections.

It would seem like the UDC or some powerful elements in it are hoping for a decouple with him only after elections. It will not be that easy.

He has never been a part of anything that he does not lead.

As election day fast approaches Ian Khama is relying more and more on jingoism and tribalistic rhetoric to bolster his popularity. UDC can’t escape from this.

As their ally, for example, Khama is complicating UDC response to dynamics in Kgatleng.

He has been the cause of all the lunacy in that area.

It is not by coincidence that Khama is circumventing the Kgatleng chieftainship issue that he did so much to wreck including by hounding Kgosi Kgafela II out of the throne and ultimately out of the country.

It is deliberate.

As a fast rule his rhetoric is designed and calculated to distract from the sorry record of his ten years as president.

A decision by him not to mention Kgafela speaks to his lurking knowledge of culpability.

The result is that UDC now does not know how to respond to the Kgafela issue without confronting Khama.

The Umbrella for Democratic Change seems to be married to an idea that consorting with Khama especially in the Central District will give them state power.

Either they are foolish or they truly believe the electorate is foolish.

A stricter and more disciplined approach would have gone a long way to safeguard UDC integrity.

They allowed opportunism to get the better of them, resulting in deep-seated confusion across the party.

When the relationship started, it looked more like a non-aggression pact than cooperation.

But we now see Khama’s Botswana Patriotic Front increasingly fielding candidates in areas also contested by the UDC.

One of our biggest problems as a country is a growing lack of credible politicians.

That is what is playing out between UDC and BPF.

UDC is a victim of harried plans by a leadership hasty to get into State House.

UDC leaders, it would seem do not want to spend a day more outside of the State House.

Nothing better illustrates this than the muddled spending pledges they are making ahead of the elections.