Monday, May 17, 2021

UDC ÔÇô As the dream comes to an end voter apathy will begin

The Umbrella for Democratic Change is in a deep crisis.

It might for now not be irreversible, but the problems inside the UDC have been allowed to fester on for far too long.

The result of it all has been confusion, despondency and turmoil in the ranks.

Since the euphoria that followed the outcome of the 2014 General Elections the UDC has never received the kind of skepticism it has been receiving lately.

Preparations of the 2019 General Elections were for UDC expected to be all excitement.

We are seeing the exact opposite.

Instead of being on the offensive, the UDC is on the defensive ÔÇô and often on the back foot too.

In trying to allay fears, the leadership has resorted to meaningless hyperbole and petty talk.

Rather than engage their followers honestly and humility, they have resorted to spinning as their favorite pastime.

Chest-beating and self congratulation is another hobby. Modesty and humility, two signs of security are foreign.

This further fuels anxiety among members who ask themselves if their leaders are even aware of what really is at stake.

A lack of public trust is getting more palpable by the day.

People who in 2014 endorsed UDC without a question are in growing numbers asking themselves whether or not they were sold a dummy.

It is easy to blame it on disloyalty.

But the Umbrella for Democratic Change had become the embodiment of many peoples’ hopes.

It would be naïve to say that the leaders of the UDC were ever the ones driving events inside the UDC.

To a large extent this was a self-driving revolution, fuelled by a blind quest for change.

UDC leaders should change and move away from self-righteousness.

They must demonstrate by act and deed that they are listening to their followers.

They must address growing doubts and questions surrounding their true worthy and quality.

The alternative is to clear a path that will see the party sink deeper and deeper into public disapproval.

Resorting to empty philosophical pontifications in response to real life questions serves to further fuel public doubt and anxiety.

I say all these not as an embodiment of UDC hatred, but rather as somebody who sympathises with those who feel betrayed.

UDC and its leadership have to do more than it currently is doing for it to become a source of hope and excitement that it was in 2014.

UDC leaders must ask themselves why their brand is not by any stretch ass attractive as it was in 2014.

Blaming the troubles on those asking questions is idle. And it is not going to be a solution.

The role of money in our politics cannot be underestimated.

But events at UDC are to a large extent a result of failed leadership.

UDC leaders have been grotesquely obsessed with themselves.

They exude brazen confidence, which when closely assessed is a mask of deep-seated insecurity.

Going into the next General Elections, public disappointment against the UDC is only part of the problem, and a smaller one for that matter.

The real risk that the country faces is a slip back into voter apathy that we had come to think was history.

Anger and disappointment with the UDC might drive people away from the polls.

We saw snippets of that in a recent by-election in Mochudi.

Less than a third of people who voted in 2014 came to the booth.

Of course by-elections are never a good barometer for anything.

But we should be worried.

UDC can still overcome its troubles.

One way to do so is to be honest.

They also should behave in clear manner what they want to do with state power.

Lack of clarity on their leadership has also played a big part in their waning popularity.

Botswana Democratic Party’s share of the popular vote has been sliding over the last few elections.

It remains to be seen what the situation will be next year.

Voter apathy might work in both ways ÔÇô benefitting the BDP in constituency numbers but further dropping their share of their popular vote.

In that instance there will not be much for anybody to celebrate.

But there will certainly be much for the opposition and especially the UDC to mourn.

In the bigger scheme of things, it would be the nation that loses the most as it would be led by a less legitimate Government.  

The UDC can still redeem itself ÔÇô even if it might mean a change at the top.

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