- Says Batswana are yearning for change through an opposition collective
- Regrets that UDC partners will be competing against each other in weekend bye-elections
Founding former president of Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Michael Dingake, has advised current leaders of the party against withdrawing from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
This comes after reports emerged that the BCP is planning to form a pact with the Alliance for Progressives (AP) before the next general elections in 2024.
Dingake said withdrawing from the UDC will reverse gains made by opposition parties to wrestle power from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). “I do not want to believe that the BCP will pull out from the UDC because opposition parties intend to form a coalition heading into the next elections,” he said.
He stated that differences always exist in politics but in this instance leaders should sit down and resolve their differences for the betterment of its people. “There should be democracy within the UDC,” Dingake said. “That is what all opposition parties within the coalition should strive to achieve so that when they gain power, things become easier.”
The former legislator said that it is unfortunate that the contracting partners of the will battle against each other in council bye-elections over the weekend. “But that is because they are still sulking at each other due to reports that they have not been meeting at UDC to discuss pertinent issues,” he stated.
Dingake said the outcome of the bye-elections should be a lesson that they should not fight each other, arguing that Batswana are longing for change which can only be achieved as a collective and not when opposition parties are disjointed.
He emphasised that there is enough time left for the UDC to go to an elective congress and iron out differences.
Last month, the BCP took a decision to field a candidate in the Bophirima Ward as a separate party because it is of the view that the ward belongs to it in accordance with constituency and ward allocations made before by the UDC.
The Secretary General if the BCP, Goretetse Kekgonegile, stated that the decision is not a sign that the party wants out of the UDC.
Tensions within the UDC have been rife since the two parties emerged from the last general elections. Of significance are relations between BCP president Dumelang Saleshando and UDC president Duma Boko that have been sour since the two fell out after the 2019 general elections. A leaked audio with voices widely believed to be of Boko and a South Africa-based UDC financier at the time named Zunaid Moti making unflattering remarks about Saleshando added fuel to the flames.
Sources say the two did not speak for two months following the general elections until their first public appearance at the Gaborone High Court where Boko and a dozen of his fellow BNF parliamentary candidates were challenging the results.
Saleshando and his BCP could not care less about the outcome of the elections save for Dr Mpho Pheko who was the party’s solo petitioner. BCP leaders even attended President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s inauguration which their fellow coalition partners had resolved to boycott over allegations of election rigging.