- A faction is preparing to vote against UDC move
- Says members had proposed a pact model
- BPF spokesman adamant NEC acted in the best interests of the party
The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) is already divided over the decision of the National Executive Committee of the party to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as a full member.
In fact, a faction within the party has emerged and is raising the question why such a key decision was made before the BPF congress, which is its highest decision-making body of the party, that is scheduled billed for 29 October in Francistown. The faction is said to be preparing to vote against the decision to join the UDC at the congress.
“There were a number of models that had been proposed for the BPF’s association with the UDC and the rest of the opposition parties. “One of the models proposed was of a pact model and a lot of BPF members did like it,” said a prominent BPF member who preferred anonymity.
“We do not know how the NEC reached this decision to join the UDC without the input of the rest of the membership. We will contest this decision at the congress.”
According to this source, one of their biggest fears is having to make way in some constituencies, especially Palapye. “The current Member of Parliament for Palapye is Ramogapi (UDC) and it is a known fact that former MP Moiseraele Goya (BPF) is also preparing to become a candidate for the seat,” the source said.
But the official spokesman of the BPF, Lawrence Ookeditse, is adamant that the NEC is empowered by the constitution of the party to make such decisions. “The NEC has the power to engage in cooperation with other parties,” Ookeditse told The Botswana Gazette.
“Congress will then also look into the decision and support it or not support it. I trust most BPF members are looking to work with other parties. It is the only way to win in 2024.”
Even so, he admits that there were some who held a different view on the decision but pointed out that the NEC acted in the best interests of the BPF.
A joint BPF and UDC press release of 6 August announced that the organisations will establish working streams to work on the constitution and policies, as well as engage about ward and constituency allocations as soon as the Delimitation Committee Report is released.
The BPF won three parliamentary seats in the 2019 general elections. The party was also instrumental in dislodging the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) long time domination in the Central District, which resulted in the UDC winning most of the constituencies there.