Monday, June 24, 2024

UDC has all the hallmarks of a captured agency

Umbrella for Democratic Change leaders do not speak with confidence on any national issues.

On every big national issue, they behave like people walking on eggshells ÔÇô  lacking in determination, devoid of chutzpah and bereft of conviction. They are a people ill at ease with something we don’t as yet know. They are apologetic, and totally unsure of themselves.

On every serious national issue they always come across as unwilling to pull their punches ÔÇô  behaving more like a compromised lot than free and spirited souls taking aim at state power.

It is like they are a people innately scared of being called out.

To the charitable critics they are out of touch with the nation’s pulse.

To the unforgiving detractors they simply come across as a people worried of being exposed for some dark  evils.

Doubt over the preparedness of their party to rule, its [un]suitability and indeed credibility is at stake here.

This is a big deal.

And if UDC leaders are aware of it, then they are not showing it.

Just recently we heard that a decision had been taken to expel Botswana Movement for Democracy and its leader Sidney Pilane from the Umbrella for Democratic Change.

That decision, it is now clear has died under the water. No public explanation has been proffered why that decision has not been implemented.

It is easy to surmise and make suppositions on the reasons behind it all.

The only person in the UDC leadership who seems  to have unfettered ability to speak his mind clearly, with conviction and without fear is Sidney Pilane. He is a free man.

When a transcript of the now infamous private conservation of UDC leaders was leaked, it was Pilane who in it had told Dumelang Saleshando that the Botswana Congress Party leader would with time be charged, get convicted and go to jail. That was a serious statement coming from a conversation that was intended to remain private. It was a huge indictment on Saleshando and his BCP.

The leak dealt the UDC a heavy blow at different and multiple levels.

First it threw away the thin but priceless veil of integrity among the leadership that UDC had up to then used as a façade in its electioneering.

Neither Pilane nor Saleshando are light weights.

Pilane is not just a political leader, he is one of the country’s finest lawyers.

His target, Saleshando is known to harbour uncontrolled presidential ambitions, and is working non-stop towards achieving that ambition.

Second the leak exposed UDC as a huge political risk to Botswana.

Even when taken at face value, at the very least the statement by Pilane smacked of calculated blackmail.

At its worst it was a reminder to Saleshando that in case he had forgotten, his days as a free man were running out.

Even as many of us were left wondering just what it was that Pilane knew or held against Saleshando, neither him [Saleshando] nor any single one of his many followers at the Botswana Congress Party bothered to ask just what crimes were known by Pilane that would one day lead the BCP leader to end up in jail wearing orange overalls. That silence or lack of interest on such a crucial issue has proved most instructive.

It’s like everybody is holding their breath; hoping and wishing that this matter goes away quietly on its own.

It may well be an empty threat by Pilane. But made by such an esteemed lawyer, against somebody working so hard to become a president, it nonetheless is worthy of being fully interrogated.

Botswana cannot afford a compromised Head of State.

When it comes to lethargy, ineptitude and disorderliness, leaders of the UDC can proudly congratulate themselves for achieving what none us of thought possible only a few years back.

The party, or whatever it is called, is no longer able to convene meetings. Even worse, it is no longer able to implement its own decisions.

What parts of it are ever able to convene come up with hollow ultimatums to expel Sidney Pilane and his Botswana Movement DemocracyÔÇô threats that as it turns out are as lame as the people making them.

This leads us to conclude that the real leader of the UDC ÔÇô by any measure is Sidney Pilane. If the UDC was to attain state power tomorrow, this is face that Batswana should expect to wield power in their country. All else are pretenders and his vassals.

Other than that Batswana should be worried that the whole cacophony from inside the UDC ensemble has so far resembled a noise of little kids left home alone, with no grownups in sight to keep them on check.

The disorderliness of UDC reached a boiling point recently when former President Ian Khama announced that he had engaged the services of the UDC leader as his lawyer in his [Khama’s] legal tussle against Government.

With that statement by Khama it then became clear even to their most enthusiastic admirers  that UDC leaders had ceased to take themselves seriously.

No wonder they have been totally helpless, even hapless, one might add, in their attempts to deal with the Masisi-mania that has gripped the nation.

When it comes to public response, the extent of the severity of events at the UDC  is yet to clearly manifest itself.

What is however irrefutable is that their brand of dishonest politics no longer grips the nation’s imagination.

As if internal bad behavior by leadership was not enough, the Registrar of Societies recently rejected a UDC Constitution that would have removed any doubts about BCP membership.

The official response by the Registrar of Societies remains a big test going forward.

If that decision by the Registrar stands, it will be interesting to see how UDC circumvents it going into the General Elections next year ÔÇô especially after failing to expel Pilane and his BMD.

The Registrar’s decision ÔÇô whether it stands or gets reversed might in the end prove of not much big consequence, because by far the chief cause of UDC meltdown is really impotent leadership which is growing worse not better.

Botswana and certainly the UDC, not to mention the individual parties that make up the motley crew would be far better off without the current lethargic collection that passes for leadership.

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