Last Saturday, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) held discussions with other opposition parties, Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) to map the way forward on working together.
During the event, the Chairperson for the Forum, former Speaker of National Assembly, Margaret Nasha explained the parties have agreed to work together at upcoming bye-elections and have joint caucuses at Parliament and Council levels with a view to moving the Opposition Agenda forward.
The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA engaged three respected political analysts to get their views on the model.
It is very premature to assess the new model because UDC has its own issues which are still pending.
Indeed, one wonders how they will work with other parties while they are still failing to solve their issues.
For example, there is MP for Tonota, Pono Moathodi’s issues with his leader, Dumelang Saleshando and it is not something you can just ignore and ask people to move on.
The model again does not give us a plan, constitution or a mini memorandum on how they are going to work. There is no direction on this new model.
Today’s politicians don’t have patriotism and easily lose interest. There is a trend of fighting for powers and if this cooperation works, then it will be the first of its kind.
However, history shows that such models never work because all parties have their own objectives on why they were formed.
They must come out and tell us if they are merging or it is just an alliance.
Firstly we must acknowledge that the Botswana Democratic Party cannot be removed by a sole party but the issue is not only about removing the ruling party but having strong working forums where opposition can be heard.
Personally, I don’t think what is in the table is enough. After removing the BDP what happens? Do those parties in the coalitiuon think alike or they are going to destabilise the country once in power?
You have to also check if they have the same interest. We once had issues of Botswana Movement for Democracy, Sidney Pilane versus the UDC and now we see the same thing with former President Ian Khama on board.
Some want him because they say he has a following, especially in the Central District, while some say they left the BDP because of him.
The BPF was formed to protect Khama’s interest that he has been enjoying since birth. Having tarnished Khama’s image by calling him names, what comes of his profile now?
Are you saying all the things that were labelled against him are just fine? A coalition has to be of a likeminded people whose intention is to serve Batswana.
I see a lot of contradictions and more factions coming up within parties. AP will be the most affected because already their members are divided over working with Khama.
They left BDP because of Khama and some have not forgiven him so it will be difficult to simply embrace him.
The entry of the BPF and AP into the UDC will not strengthen the UDC in any significant way as the two parties are very weak in terms of membership.
While the BPF has followers in the Central District owing to its patron’s influence, his presence in the UDC may alienate some opposition supporters who vividly remember his rule, particularly the decline of many governance indicators.