- BCP contests outside UDC again, BDP win predicted
- UDC attempt to entice BCP rejected
- UDC, BCP bitter fight fuels voter apathy
- BDP to face weak opposition in 2024 – Analyst
A political stunt by the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) backfired midweek when a day after announcing that a candidate from Botswana Congress Party (BCP) will represent the coalition in a Francistown West by-election was dismissed.
The coalition mouthpiece, Moeti Mohwasa claimed in an unsigned statement bearing the UDC letterhead on Wednesday that in the July 30th by-election in Moselewapula ward, they will be represented by a member of the BCP as the party is the one managing the ward, as agreed by the UDC National Executive Committee. Mohwasa said the umbrella intends to avoid a repeat of the Bophirima Ward bye-election fracas where both the UDC and its affiliate- BCP, went head to head.
The letter was a response to growing speculation that the July 30th Moselewapula ward by-election will be a sequel of what transpired in Bophirima ward, where the main coalition partners the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and their fierce rivals the Botswana National Front (BNF) fielded their own candidates. Inside the UDC, where the BCP is standing at the exit doorway due to unresolved differences with UDC President Duma Boko, the latter operates closely with another coalition member, the Botswana People’s Party (BPP). Even before the public spat over Moselewapula, many speculated that the UDC already had a stand by candidate , should the BCP choose to campaign outside the UDC. Indeed, the UDC immediately announced their own candidate shortly after the BCP spurned their advances.
“We are disapointed by this decision by the BCP. We are disappointed that we are now going to face a repeat of Bophirima ward where we had a divided opposition,” said Mohwasa, in yet another unsigned statement.
With tensions rising inside the UDC, political analysts predict that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) stand a better chance to win Moselewapula ward as continuous squabbles in the opposition will drive away voters.
According to Frank Mogotsi the continuous ugly war between UDC and its affiliate, BCP will leave the opposition weak come 2024 elections. He said the bickering between BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando and the UDC president Duma Boko is doing a lot of harm to the opposition.
“The biggest test for the BDP was to face the united opposition which was about to be born from the opposition cooperation talks which have now collapsed. The Moselewapula ward by-election will result in the opposition getting further fragmented. BDP stand a good chance to win it,” he said, adding that as things stand in the opposition, its chances of winning state power in 2024 are slim.
“The BDP will employ all means possible to win these by-elections. All in all, I predict a massive vote splitting that will affect opposition in the next general elections. Electorates may also dump UDC in large numbers. A divided opposition will never regain trust of the voters,” warned Mogotsi.
Another political commentator, Kitso Morekisi said the BDP will face a weak opposition ever at the 2024 polls. He said the current BCP and UDC fight will not be resolved any time before the 2024 elections.
“The BNF and BCP will never work together. It seems that BCP is no longer interested in the UDC marriage. The opposition is polarized, we are bound to see the worst performance by it. It was becoming clear in the past by-elections last year that a united opposition will harm BDP,” he said.
During the by- elections for 11 council seats in December 2021, the united opposition which faced the BDP under the opposition cooperation forum initiative, won 8 seats while BDP got only 3.
During the Bophirima ward by-election standoff between BCP and UDC earlier this year, BDP failed to capitalise on the split votes as UDC’s Mankie Sekete won it.
The impasse between UDC and its affiliate the BCP is far from over with the two parties are poised to face each other at Moselewapaula Ward in Francistown West constituency fielding their candidates respectively. UDC had initial indicated that it will allow BCP to field candidate.
Information turned up by this publication is that the opposition coalition’s leadership called an emergency central committee meeting on Thursday after BCP decided to contest the ward alone again. According to sources close to developments, the communication by Dumelang Saleshando’s lime movement that it will contest for Moselewapula ward outside UDC did o’t seat well with the UDC.
“UDC leader Duma Boko called the leadership of Botswana People’s Party (BPP) to ensure that the party prepares itself to present a candidate to the UDC to face possible BCP and Alliance for Progressives (AP) alliance and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). UDC now wants to declare war on BCP,” a source said.
The coalition, later on Thursday, fielded Gift Tebo of the Botswana People’s Party (BPP).
On the other hand, BCP spokesperson Dr Mpho Pheko said they will contest outside UDC, announcing that Mmoloki Oagile Wairi will represent the BCP. “We do not see how it can even be remotely possible for the BCP to mount a successful campaign using the UDC symbols while at a time the BCP has been suspended by the UDC,” said Dr Pheko.
Morekisi said it has become abundantly clear that the BCP will be leaving the UDC in a not too distant future. He said the BCP and Alliance for Progressives (AP) alliance might not be strong while that of UDC, BPP and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) may be stronger. But even then the coalitions will not be strong enough to shake the BDP, particularly in constituencies in the Southern part of Botswana.