With the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) on the deathbed due to differences besieging the partners, political analysts predict that Advocate Duma Boko’s political career could be ending.
Analysts say the current internal bickering between two key UDC partners, Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) over Bophirima ward leaves a lot to be desired. In an interview, political commentator Kitso Morekisi said the BNF has to put its house in order.
According to him, the BNF pro- Boko comrades known as the Fear Fokol Brigade is the one that is also at the forefront of bickering either at the BNF and UDC hence it is causing harm to both parties. “The politics of coalition or any other pact are very complex and sensitive. The casual approach by Boko and BNF to the sensitive matters within the coalition leaves a lot to be desired. The BNF so called Fear Fokol young comrades are costing Boko. They must be expelled by BNF,” he opined.
In addition, Morekisi said Boko’s political career will be hanging on the balance should UDC split. He indicated that the BNF fortunes as the political party have been declining over recent years.
“If not careful, BNF will disintegrate after the 2024 general elections. The party has not been doing well given its abysmal performance at the 2019 general elections only winning three Parliament seats. The party should do a lot to save its sinking ship. Without UDC it will be a blow for the party going forward,” he said.
Another independent political analyst Frank Mogotsi said the current UDC fracas must end quickly. Mogotsi noted that Boko should have considered to hand over the baton of UDC leadership post the 2019 general elections to Leader of Opposition (LOO) in Parliament Dumelang Saleshando.
“The exclusion of the BNF movement at University of Botswana united movement made up of AP, BPF and BCP shows that there is a serious political scuffle inside the UDC. The fight for the Bophirima ward shows that Boko as UDC leader failed to demonstrate mature leadership. It will be deadly for UDC because Ndaba Gaolathe and Saleshando might form strong coalition,” he said.
UDC Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa did not respond to enquiries sent to him at time of going to print although he had seen messages sent to his WhatsApp number.
Political analyst Morekisi said the current political tension between the BNF and BCP is bad for UDC. He said the opposition coalition President Boko should have taken advantage to benchmark from the coalition of Zambian president Hakainde Hichilema which won state power in 2021.
“The Leader of Opposition Saleshando together with other opposition leaders was invited to the inauguration of president Hichilema last year. The UDC leader Boko should have taken on this advantage to be close to Hichilema so that he learn one or two things about leading the coalition to direction of attaining state power. UDC is good it just lack leadership,” he added.
According to the analyst, the United Party for National Development (UPND) under Hichilema’s coalition model is just similar to that of the UDC as it premised on the principles of regime change. Hichilema who ousted the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) in last year August elections took many by surprise when he invited some of the opposition leaders in the region to his inauguration as president.
Some of the leaders invited were Nelson Chamisa, the current President of the Citizens Coalition For Change in Zimbabwe which is seeking to wrestle power from the long time ruling ZANU-PF.
Meanwhile, the opposition political stalwart and former UDC MP Nehemiah Modubule said it is very important for the UDC leadership to seat down to resolve the issues like mature people.
He said the Bophirima Ward should not be taken lightly because it is posing threat to coalition. “The perspective should be on principles and that should be the most worrying factor. It is a ward which could be taken as being small but it is very important. The issue to be addressed is that one of principle with regards to a violation of coalition principles made by other partner,” he said.
The UDC have been rocked by internal bickering owing to the disagreement between the BNF and BCP over which party should contest for the ward by-election resulting in serious scuffle. Both UDC and BCP will be contesting on separate ways for the ward, a development which the experts indicate that it will be giving ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) time to wake up.
BCP has fielded Peter Mmusi while UDC fielded Mankie Sekete.
Political analyst Mogotsi said the gains made from the opposition talks have been now reversed. He said the current opposition unity talks between UDC, AP and BPF have been the best ever.
“But it seems like the gains that have been made are now turned into vain. We have seen the opposition outclassing the BDP in the recent held by-elections and this was an indication that the current opposition unity talks have been making progress. BNF-BCP scuffle is a blow, he stated.
According to him, Boko deserves credit for the efforts he made since 2011 to unite the opposition. “He is a great leader in terms of mobilizing the needed resources and he must be acknowledged for that. He gave the BDP run for its money in 2019 elections staging stronger campaigns for the UDC. But, it is important for him to give others chance to lead and UDC congress must be held,” he said.
The presidents of the three (3) negotiating parties being the UDC, AP and BPF in 2020 advanced their cooperation unity a step further by sealing bye election deal with memorandum of understanding. The spirit and the purpose according to the parties is to ensure electoral gains and victory in the bye-election, with each of contracting parties enjoined in selection of candidates among others. “Continuing cooperation in the bye-elections will strengthen our commitment to party-to party relationships and working to increase the understanding of Batswana about all social, economic and political problems confronting the country, “the cooperating parties said in the MOU deal.
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