Leader of the Umbrella Democratic Change Duma Boko and his deputy, Dumelang Saleshando are planning to hold a Summit meeting following a tumultuous few months that almost collapsed the UDC, insiders have said.
The Summit is calculated to bring the two back together and help get the UDC back on track ahead of difficult negotiations with other opposition parties.
Boko is leader of the Botswana National Front and Saleshando is leader of the Botswana Congress Party.
The two leaders hope to use the Summit to iron out their differences and put the UDC on course for elections in 2024.
Recently the UDC went through an inflection point that put doubts on many people’s minds about the party’s long term viability.
This was after the BCP, led by Saleshando and his deputy Kesi Gobotswang publicly called for reform inside the UDC.
The two BCP leaders insisted on the democratisation of the UDC.
Specifically they said the UDC leadership should be opened up to be determined by general members.
This was not well received by the BNF partners who questioned not only the timing but the tactics.
At the time, media reports indicated that Boko and Saleshando had long stopped talking to each other.
The dispute set back preparations for the next elections and also the more immediate by-elections that had been held back by the State of Emergency that will now be coming to an end.
The Summit will be largely informal, UDC sources have said.
But there will be no issues off the table including events that led to bad blood between the two leaders ahead of the 2019 General elections.
The two leaders will try to establish rapport between themselves and agree on what the UDC political strategy should be going forward.
The two are also likely to agree on how best to coordinate events at both the BNF and the BCP as a way of making the UDC more viable and also help reduce incidents of disagreement between the disparate formations making up the UDC.
“There is consensus that since elections, the UDC has lost a lot of ground. It has a lot to do with disagreements between the top leadership. The fact that they have agreed to hold a retreat for just the two of them offers a big hope for UDC members” a person close to the two leaders said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak for UDC.
UDC Spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa acknowledged that indeed preparations are ongoing for a Summit, but said it would be an informal matter for the leadership of the UDC.
He said he did not as yet have full details about the impending meeting.