Friday, December 1, 2023

Don’t hold your breath; UDC not interested in resolving BMD crisis

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to see how the Umbrella for Democratic Change would survive unscathed by the chaos at the Botswana Movement for Democracy.

In fact the closer one looks at the unfolding drama, the clearer it becomes that it is the UDC, not so much the BMD that is in disarray.

Other than a fight over name by competing figures, many of the BMD members and indeed structures remain pretty united and relatively unscathed.

The trouble though is that such serenity will not last forever.

If leaders do not get their act together, it is only a matter of time before members will make irreversible decisions.

Either the members will disintegrate and become easy pickings for the ruling party, or they will on their own move ahead of leadership and form a new organization that would be independent of the UDC.

For sometime UDC leaders had talked and behaved as though power would be handed to them in a silver platter come 2019.

What informs this complacency in the face of such glaring chaos is difficult to understand.

The unfolding events clearly demonstrate that political naivety had gotten the better of them.

For it to survive the storm, the UDC needs to go back to the founding values that had underwritten its sterling performance in the last General Elections.

Sadly the party’s treatment of more reasonable people like Lebang Mpotokwane and Mothabane Maphanyane is not encouraging.

These are people who are being rudely sidelined by a UDC mob that somehow feels 2019 is ready for a taking.

Not for the first time we need to remind UDC leaders that unlike many in their midst, Mpotokwane and Maphanyane are accomplished people who do not need a UDC government for them to make money.

Politics, we have always known could be an unthankful undertaking. But UDC treatment of these two gentlemen, it seems, is taking that thanklessness to altogether new levels.

Mpotokwane and Maphanyane are two men who tirelessly worked late nights, risking their frail health to stitch together UDC when those who are today shouting loudest about it had deserted the project as a failed undertaking.

Another voice that is under attack is that of Reverend Prince Dibeela, the Vice President of the Botswana National Front.

Because he has been unwavering in his calls for integrity in politics, already he is being labeled a BMD operative ÔÇô an orange under the carpet masquerading as a BNF.

Worst insults have however been reserved for Motlatsi Molapise, an opposition old horse who is arguably the most honest politician in Botswana today is being ridiculed and insulted.

For Molapise the hurling of crude insults at him by people who are supposed to be fighting from his same political corner must feel like a replay of events that followed his modest request for additional constituencies that had been given to the Botswana Congress Party.

Also singled out for attack, not by the ruling party, but by the UDC is Johnson Motshwarakgole, one of the chief architects of the UDC project.

Motshwarakgole has been with UDC from day one and his loyalty has never floundered.

As a leading member of BOFEPUSU, Motshwarakgole has been unrepentant and unapologetic in his support of UDC.

Yet latecomers into the project have recently had the audacity to accuse him of all kinds of crimes against the UDC, including coup attempts against the UDC leader.

Bringing together so many ambitious politicians under one roof, many of who are in it for the lure of money and wealth that African politics promises was always going to be a volatile tinderbox.

But this is not how it was supposed to be.

The UDC, we have to be honest is sliding perilously close to a split.

The whole edifice is on the verge of collapse.

A specter of a messy divorce hangs on this marriage of convenience.

Hawks inside the Botswana Movement for Democracy are already talking of a life after UDC.

Officially, BMD members of parliament are still a part of the UDC motley crew in parliament.

Yet already some of them have started to refer to their time with UDC in past tenses.

They feel, not without some measure of merit, that the current UDC and the party’s somewhat thuggish decision making processes are heavily stacked against them.

The UDC treatment of people like Lebang Mpotokwane, Emang Maphanyane, Motlatsi Molapise and indeed Johnson Motshwarakgole is adding fuel to an already combustible atmosphere.

Conspiracy theorists continue to insist that that UDC troubles are mainly a result of bigger and more sinister forces at play. That may be so, but that still does not answer just how it can be that UDC leadership continues to make some glaring unforced mistakes.

Why, for example are they treating some of their key loyalists and founders this way?

Everybody aside, Mpotokwane and Maphanyane are the two still active members of a founding group that initiated latter day opposition unity as we know it today.

By volunteering to sit on the UDC executive, at no political gain to themselves, the two solidified their reputations as midwives of the UDC.

Now it seems their creation, the UDC, wrongfully convinced that they will be in power in 2019, has mercilessly thrown them under a bus.


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