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Saleshando courts Boko to cajole AP into UDC fold

Publishing Date : 11 June, 2018

Author : UTLWANANG GASENNELWE

Opposition stalwart and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando has beseeched on the Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) President Duma Boko to reflect on courting Alliance for Progressives (AP) back into the UDC.


The one-year purple party, led by Ndaba Gaolathe left the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) following irreparable indifferences with the other group under the contentious Sidney Pilane who now remains as its leader.  Speaking to Weekend Post this week Saleshando insisted that UDC needs the AP and that they should do the needful to twist their (AP) arm as time for 2019 General Elections is fast gaining pace.


According to Saleshando, the UDC President Boko always says his mission is to unite all the opposition parties in Botswana and therefore coaxing AP provides him with the opportunity to reclaim his glory. “So hopefully he (Boko) will also take the necessary steps to cajole AP into the UDC fold in the shortest span of time. Already time is running out,” the BCP leader maintained to this publication.  He also said that: “the UDC leadership all know that we need AP more than they need us so it is not for me as Saleshando to say it. The UDC leadership is equally aware to this fact.”


The UDC Vice President also stated that unfortunately the UDC leadership structure haven’t met for sometime so it has not yet discussed the “danger” of AP being left alone to contest next elections separately from other opposition parties. “I believe we will be stronger with the AP. If left alone the party will split votes and maybe eat on the UDC vote as most opposition voters are likely to vote another opposition. Therefore, Boko and the UDC time is running out for the umbrella party to strike this crucial deal,” the ex two times Gaborone Central legislator said.  


Saleshando is also cautious that it won’t be smooth sailing in the Umbrella as is the nature of coalitions everywhere. “Coalitions by nature have positives and negatives. We can’t take positives only without the negatives. But one hopes negatives don’t outweigh positives,” he said. He gave a testimony that already he was confronted by some potential voters owing to BMD’s bloody fight involving fiery dogs that led to the party splitting.


“I was confronted in one of my campaigns negatively gore a ga se lona ba dintswa and you can’t say nnyaa ga se rona as we are in the same boat.” The UDC VP is aware that whatever conducts coming from other parties will affect the other as blood from the BMD has already spilled to them as evidenced by his testimony.


Why BCP won’t leave the UDC

In light of the development which might tarnish the stable BCP and the entire UDC project, Saleshando however told this publication that there is still no decision to think that the BCP is leaving UDC neither is there a call to consider the position. “I don’t think opting out of the umbrella would assist anything; the challenges that exist would be resolved. In the interest of our democracy, BCP should not leave and therefore 2019 should be about changing government. Our democracy needs to witness the transition from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to a new era.”


As you know, Saleshando said, UDC can’t win elections without BCP even though the last polls the green party garnered 20% of the popular vote so this essentially means that there cannot be any meaningful change without the BCP.  And for the BCP going alone, it will require more time to double the popular vote in 2019 and “we are alive to this following 2014 General Elections where we contested alone.”


Saleshando still hopeful UDC will win in 2019

Against all odds, the Maun West UDC candidate in the next elections still believes that his party will win the government. “I think we can win in 2019 as we are boosted by the past by elections which have proven that we are stronger and even made breakthrough in some BDP strongholds,” he emphasized. Meanwhile when reached for comment UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said the UDC’s position is that all opposition parties in Botswana should contest as one entity towards 2019 as “we are much stronger together.”


UDC retreat failed

Meanwhile the UDC retreat that was expected to take place between 1st June and 3rd June 2018 could not materialize owing to President Duma Boko’s engagement with Parliamentary business. This means that there is no movement on the issue of the UDC constitution, which is of grave concern to the BCP. Saleshando and his party wants the UDC to adopt the new constitution which recognizes the BCP formally. No new date has been set for the retreat.

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