- Court rules that his detractors are in contempt
The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) have suffered yet another setback after BPF president, Biggie Butale, emerged victorious in a reinstatement case earlier this week.
Butale’s suspension by the BPF’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in the course of an ongoing power struggle in the party has been overturned by the court, leading to further complications for the already beleaguered anti-Butale faction and the UDC coalition project in which the BPF is a critical partner.
Butale’s legal triumph could mean more turbulence for the BPF and the UDC ahead of Botswana’s general elections next year. The internecine divisions within the BPF have cast doubt on the coalition project holding.
The power struggle within the BPF has intensified in recent months, exposing deep-seated rifts that are often personality-driven.
The suspension of Butale was seen as a strategic move by one faction to assert its dominance over others, especially the one aligned to the patron of the party, Ian Khama.
Furthermore, rumours have surfaced that the Alliance for Progressives (AP), another UDC coalition partner, has raised concerns about these BPF issues.
In the course of this, the UDC leadership has attempted to maintain a cautious distance, saying they have not been called on to mediate or help put out the fire.
In the meantime, Butale’s serial victories in court have galvanised his faction, leaving his detractors contemplating forming a breakaway party.
Political scientists have emphasised that the challenges posed by the internal discord within the BPF are not only detrimental to the BPF but may also have far-reaching implications for the UDC ahead of the 2024 elections.
They suggest that the UDC must assess the viability of its partnership with the BPF and consider the potential implications of continuing with it amidst its ongoing power struggles.