Monday, June 1, 2020

Has the UDC forsaken Gomolemo Motswaledi?

People, it would seem have very short memories.

It was only in 2014, barely five years ago when the UDC leadership and indeed general membership accused Botswana Government, then led by Ian Khama of assassinating Gomolemo Motswaledi.

Motswaledi, for those who have forgotten was not only the deputy leader of the UDC, he was by any measure the mastermind of all that the UDC was.

It was while riding on the back of a wave crest inspired by sympathy following Motswaledi’s tragic death  that UDC performed way better than they could have imagined even in their wildest dreams.

Now Motswaledi is gone. And his former comrades have gone full circle.

They are all smooches with Ian Khama, consorting with him and confessing their undying love for him.

The same Khama, whose Government the UDC had accused of killing a UDC leader is now traversing the country, at the invitation of the UDC candidates and activists.

UDC’s bromance with Ian Khama should be critically evaluated, if not for anything because it is textbook case of inconsistency and untrustworthiness among politicians that so much turns of the voter.

This bromance smacks of desperation.

It comes at a time when public trust in the UDC has been badly sapped by the party’s ever shifting positions.

At one time Ian Khama said he had engaged UDC leader Duma Boko as his lawyer.

This is the same Boko who in 2014 was endlessly saying he would not rest until Ian Khama was behind bars for corruption.

UDC’s inconsistency and contradictions are a bad omen that foretell dangerous political expediency that would by itself be unsustainable once the party is in power.

At another level it might be simply that the UDC is itself unstable, which would make it a big risk to put them in power .

Motswaledi must be turning in his grave, not only at how his party has trampled on his own legacy and vision, but also at how UDC leadership is unashamedly manipulating Batswana.

For Motswaledi, wherever he is, it must feel like the UDC has not gone to the dogs, it is the dogs that have come to the UDC.

Since the last General Elections that saw an unprecedented number of opposition members enter parliament, Batswana have watched in near disdain as performance in parliament plummeted to lowest ebbs in memory.

To be blunt the UDC has sold out.

To be fair to the Botswana Congress Party, they were not always a part of the UDC we are talking about.

They are newcomers. Yet tragically for them, they are by far the biggest losers in the sweeping lethargy now consuming the UDC.

BCP is in an unenviable position. They are like a prisoner, held hostage by fate.

They cannot leave UDC, firstly because it is too late as General Elections are only a few months hence. And secondly, because always a victim of own insidious political calculations, the BCP is genuinely convinced that they can still wrestle the UDC brand from Duma Boko and his Botswana National Front who since Motswaledi’s death have through one gaffe after another totally mismanaged the brand and driven it down the abyss.

The UDC performed so well in 2014 partly because they pointed out and highlighted many of Ian Khama’s follies  –  chiefly corruption.

The UDC leaders to their credit were able to stay on message.

They very simply but consistently and effectively spelt out people’s apprehensions, people’s fears, people’s aspirations and people’s ambitions.

The same cannot be said about today’s UDC.

Today’s UDC is all over the place.

It is not clear what exactly they stand for.

Is their companionship with Ian Khama out of expediency? Is it an admission that they were wrong to blame Khama’s Government for Motswaledi’s death? Or is it power at all cost, realising that Khama is at odds with his successor?  Has for them Khama been reborn or reincarnated? Whatever the answer, it is not good for the UDC, and certainly not for the multitudes of voters that had looked up to it as an embodiment of their hopes.

Whatever the answer, the conduct by UDC leadership smacks of desperation.

The Umbrella for Democratic Change seems to be going through a self-inflicted phase of managed decline.

For a party that in 2014 was acting like a big mainstream organization, today their behaviour is of a sectarian organization destined to operate on the political fringes.

Their conduct betrays their inner feelings that deep down they believe that for them it’s now or never.

More importantly their lack of shame in turning their backs on Motswaledi’s legacy and going on to dance on everything he stood for is a sign that UDC cannot be trusted especially with more consequential  constructs like State power.


Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.