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UDC meets in Francistown to discuss BMD future

Publishing Date : 22 August, 2017


Opposition party Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) is meeting this weekend in Francistown to discuss several contentious key issues of the party in preparation for 2019 General Elections.

The highly classified meeting will be attended by leaders of UDC party member Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). This comes after the BPP failed to pitch up at the preceding Umbrella party meeting held at Tlokweng. The previous meeting was the first to be held subsequent to the individual member parties’ congresses and congresses conducted in July.  

At the Francistown meeting, Weekend Post can confirm that on top of the agenda is the deliberation on the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) impasse which has left the party in bitter parallel groups all claiming to be the NEC committee of the BMD.
The BMD came out of two bitter rival groups from what was supposed to be a one congress from Bobonong that ended up giving birth to two separate Committees with one led by Ndaba Gaolathe while the other Sidney Pilane.

According to a highly placed source who makes part of the top table at UDC, the Francistown meeting will, amongst issues on agenda, discuss the BMD hubbub. As such he also confirmed that the BMD was not even invited to the meeting. “Only BNF, BCP and BPP have been invited to this meeting. For obvious reasons, BMD was not invited as they have two different groups claiming separately that they make the legitimate BMD Committee,” said the political leader in the UDC who spoke to Weekend Post on Friday this week.

He however was quick to highlight that the public must note that the UDC is not going there to pronounce which committee they recognize between Ndaba led and Pilane’s. The immaculate source stressed: “the UDC philosophy is about uniting. We are not going to choose between the two but to reconcile them.  We believe the two should both continue working together under UDC.” Meanwhile when this publication reached the UDC official spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa for a comment, he also confirmed that such said meeting will take place.

“Yes I can confirm that UDC NEC will be having a meeting in Francistown this weekend. The meeting will be held by all our parties under UDC except BMD,” Mohwasa pointed out to this publication. Although he was cagey to discuss the details of the meetings and agenda he however, when pressed further, conceded that obviously the hot potato BMD issue will be discussed vigorously. He added that other matters will be purely house-keeping issues regarding the party but would not be drawn further into the nitty gritty’s of such. Weekend Post has also gathered that the UDC NEC will also discuss the party’s new program of action that will be a build up towards the imminent General Elections.

The action entails officially recognizing the BCP as a member of UDC and incorporating it as is the case with BNF, BMD and BPP. “Since January we have been talking about this, just talk. So that needs to be formally launched. We need to launch and re-vamp the UDC incorporating the BCP. And that means UDC would essentially include the BCP in the new UDC to be launched very soon.” The meeting at Francistown would also discuss new UDC’s unique colours (blue) and new voting symbol to be used in the coming elections. The UDC is also expected to touch on the issue of Primary elections by the opposition block as a whole.

In its recent conference, BCP resolved that they will start primary elections this year and therefore are expected to lure other members in the Umbrella to do likewise. This move is also intended to counter ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s resolution to also hold primary elections in opposition held constituencies as early as October later this year.

In other issues, Saleshando who is the BCP president is said to be confirmed that he is contesting the next elections. BCP Central committee took the decision after discussing it for a while. The party is still weighing options only of where he can contest. There is strong talk by the party Central Committee of three areas encompassing several recognized constituencies where Saleshando would be placed. These include areas of Gaborone, Maun and Selibe Phikwe.

Weekend Post has established that there is still animosity between the UDC contracting partners’ members which is evidenced by BCP and BMD’s public out spats demonstrating that members may not want the other. Some BPP members as well are said to be unsettled by the coming in of BCP. It is still to be achieved whether the parties will appreciate each other and work in harmony towards the impending 2019 National Elections.



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