Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Vice President Ndaba Gaolathe has heaped praises on the Botswana National Front (BNF) for its political staying power.
Speaking at the BNF’s 50th anniversary gala dinner in Gaborone on Friday, Gaolathe said the BNF has given Botswana a culture of unifying people and that was why it is a mass movement of intellectuals, farmers, herdsmen, teachers, the unemployed, teachers, doctors and people from all walks of life. “You have given our country a culture of open, frank and truthful debate. You were first to realize that the discomforts of dissent are much less powerful than the life-giving seeds of crystallized ideas and moral force”, said Gaolathe who was the guest speaker at the event. He thanked the BNF for giving Botswana “pristine leaders of sound character, towering intellect and marvelous eloquence”.
He cited the late Kenneth Koma, Paul Rantao and Bathoen as leaders of such caliber. Gaolathe implored the current BNF leader Duma Boko not to allow anyone to drive a wedge among the party’s cadre. “Counsel them, guide them and build them”, he told Boko. Gaolathe said the BNF has given Batswana the value of resilience and made them accept that life is filled with highs and lows, and that despite the vicissitudes of the journey, there are rewards to focusing on the bigger picture. “You have given us humility. You have given us the liberty and authority to ‘visioneer’ at will, without fear or favor and that is why today our star is on the rise and our vision embraced by the majority of our people”, said Gaolathe.
He said for the first time in the history of Botswana’s democracy, there is real belief and faith that BNF’s partnership with BMD and BPP forms an alternative government that will lead in 2019. “We have to believe that some may not make it, but our people must and will make it to the Promised Land. Our people demand freedom. True freedom to articulate and express their conscience without fear that someone will send a letter to terminate their employment contract or tender and without the fear that an unnatural car accident will visit their trip”, Gaolathe told the audience which was made up of UDC high ranking officials and other high profiled members of society. Still at the event, renowned Attorney Dick Bayford seized the opportunity to explain his political affiliation.
Though he chose to explain in metaphors, the audience seemed to have understood Bayford as confirming his allegiance to the UDC. There has been a lot of speculation on whether Bayford has dumped the Botswana Congress Party and joined the UDC given his intense participation in UDC matters. “A tiger does not go around showing its stripes to prove its tigerness”, Bayford said much to the amusement and ululations from the crowd. He said his actions were enough to show where his political affiliation lies. The gala dinner was one of the many events lined up to celebrate the party’s 50th anniversary.