Are BPF Crises a Setback for UDC Gains?

  • BPF seems to be imploding as BCP packs its bags
  • Boko likely to be left holding a wreck as the Umbrella crumbles
  • BPP says UDC is as intact as ever


The crisis at the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) may present a serious setback for the Umbrella for Democratic Chance (UDC) project’s gains amid concerns in some quarters that this may be a warning sign for worse to come.

With the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) heading out, many political observers for a while saw the BPF as a potential replacement but until the fault lines at Botswana’s youngest political party began to widen to a point where an implosion seems inevitable.

When a quarrel ensued at the BPF recently over the tempestuous issue of joining the UDC, the leadership of the party announced that such a decision would be taken by congress scheduled for 29 October.

MPs and Khama want congress postponed
However, the party’s Members of Parliament and its patron, Ian Khama, want the congress postponed until all the make-or-break issues are resolved.

“As we speak, there are those who are pushing for the BPF to suspend its membership in the UDC until all the issues are resolved,” a BPF source told The Gazette. “If unresolved, this might even raise legitimacy issues for the BPF being in the UDC.”

BPF leaders are divided on joining the UDC, with some openly declaring that they want the UDC to commit to a rotational presidency as a condition.

Contacted about BPF issues, UDC spokesman Moeti Mohwasa responded blandly: “All political organisations and living organisms go through challenges at some stage of their existence. It is called dialectics.”

“The most important thing is how an entity manages such contradictions. The BPF should be given space to attend to and resolve its challenges. We all go through turbulence, but what is important is how you deal with those challenges.”

Mohwasa believes the BPF will emerge stronger after its congress. “Politics is a highly contested terrain and not a picnic,” he said. “What is happening at BPF does not come anywhere near what other political formations in the country have experienced.”
Bigotry and hatred

“This harshness and unfairness on the BPF is not objective but is unfair and driven by bigotry and hatred. There are therefore no setbacks to talk about regarding what it is going through. We value the BPF and we will always be there for it.”

On the contrary, UDC vice president Dumelang Saleshando has described the UDC’s problems as irreparable. But this view is disputed by another contracting partner in the coalition, the Botswana People’s Party whose spokesperson, Nono Kgafela Mokoka, holds that the UDC is as intact as ever.