UDC is no longer viable – AP

23 Aug 2018

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) has said the Umbrella for Democratic Change is no longer viable.

AP said as such they have no desire to engage in any talks with the UDC.

AP Secretary General Phenyo Butale said if anything the AP would negotiate to individual parties that make up the UDC.

UDC includes four political parties being Botswana National Front, Botswana Congress Party, Botswana Movement for Democracy and the Botswana Peoples Party.

Dr Butale was responding to a message by leader of Botswana Movement for Democracy Sidney Pilane who hinted that he has already started engaging with AP and also with trade union federation BOFEPUSO.

Pilane is also one of the two UDC vice presidents.

Pilane’s statement followed a decision by the Registrar of Societies that UDC was not a political party but a cooperation agreement between parties.

As such the Registrar rejected a new Constitution that was supposed to be registered.

There have also been murmurs that two of the UDC partners being Botswana National Front and the Botswana Congress Party were attempting to engage in bilateral talks at the exclusion of other partners being BMD and the Botswana Peoples Party.

Phenyo Butale said as AP said they will not be disturbed by some members of the UDC especially Sidney Pilane who he said is spreading unfortunate bickering and unending bitter turf wars within the UDC.

The AP formed as a splinter party of the BMD have also said they will be holding primary elections over the weekend in some parts of the country.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Butale confirmed that indeed AP will be conducting primary elections this coming weekend and urged its members and the general public to dismiss and not to listen to Pilane’s utterances that they were in discussion together in trying to take the country forward.

“The AP wishes to distance itself from the utterances doing rounds on social media that seek to link the party with BMD and UDC but rather we are busy working on our primary election and not anything to do with UDC,” said Butale.

“We will be conducting our election in three phases and as we speak the party has agreed that consensus and incumbency should be given preference. So far we are expecting to have 20 Members of Parliament and over 200 councilors or more for our primary elections, ’’he added.

Butale said AP is ready to talk to individual parties and not UDC.

“As AP we are convinced that current UDC is not viable and we do not wish to be party to its eternal disagreements. Our ideas if or when we discuss alliances would in any case be with individual political parties and not with UDC. We have stated categorically that we will not discuss any possible cooperation with anyone without the involvement of the original conveners,’’ said Butale

He further said that they have observed in the social media that president of the Botswana Democratic Party Sidney Pilane is trying to seek and draw AP members into his conflict with the UDC but said AP values will preclude them from being enticed into Pilane’s systematic dismantling of the UDC.

He said AP is working hard to reach to the masses and it is not yet in discussion with any UDC members.

“We wish to state in no uncertain terms that the AP has never discussed or indicated any interest in working with the suspected author of the circulating text, Sidney Pilane. It is our considered view that the institutional memory that the conveners have is critical to the birth of a genuine arrangement that is free from opportunism and debilitating narrow individual interests.

AP has said anybody wishing to engage with AP should do so through Conveners; a team of elders behind the formation of UDC but who have since been discarded by the UDC leadership.

Butale said AP is busy working on its primary election and not in talks with UDC or BMD leadership.