- Discredit opposition unity
- Say people are now making u-turn to align with the new administration
- The main problem is that our opposition parties do not use their manifestos or ideology to campaign-Analyst
FRANCISTOWN: Amidst the current political dynamics, political commentators have dismissed the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) describing it as a unity of two parties clashing for egos and ideologies.
Local Political Commentator Leonard Sesa told The Botswana Gazette in an interview that currently, as opposed to 2014 general elections there is no unity among opposition parties.
This according to Sesa is evidenced by the fragmentation of the opposition parties and the trade unions that do not have a common stand despite elections being less than 10 months away. To the Political Commentator though the current UDC is not as strong as 2014, “It is unfortunate that five years later that UDC momentum that took opposition by storm is non-existent and the opposition is fragmented. In 2014 prior to the general elections the UDC was enticing with the trade unions rallying behind it. Unlike today there was momentum going into the elections. But what we see today is totally different because the so called opposition unity is made up of two parties with similar ideology. Ruling out the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) from the opposition unity.”
Sesa said Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) do not warrant opposition unity alone because they are made of the same ideology and “due to this we are likely to see a clash of egos because both of them want to prove themselves. BCP is trying to prove themselves because they were not part of the unity in 2014. The 2014 unity was helped by Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) because it neutralized the latter with different ideology but this time around is no longer the case because it is not part of the UDC,” Sesa highlighted, stating that the UDC 2019 general elections results are going to be negatively affected by these factors.
Further according to the Commentator the UDC’s situation is not helped by the ascendance of President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the Presidency. The ascendance of Masisi that ignited so many policy changes and reversals has made voters reconsider the BDP, and align themselves with the new administration. “That 2014 opposition momentum is non-existent because people want to align themselves with the new presidency to see if they can somehow benefit. That is why even to date they are yet to align themselves with the political parties. Come the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress we are going to witness the real characters of so many people because they will be trying to align with the presidency while some will be trying to prove themselves to the President,” added Sesa.
BNF spokespeople were unreachable as their phones were off ,others rang unanswered, BCP Vice President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang however noted that the UDC subscribes to social democracy which was agreed by all the contracting partners. “The ideology that UDC subscribes to was negotiated and captured in the constitution. This social democracy accommodate both UDC contracting partners because of its different versions, therefore ideology is no longer an issue. In addition there was a negotiating team that was informed by social democracy to make UDC policies,” Gobotswang said in an interview.
While he agreed that the hype is less when compared to the run up to the 2014 general elections he is of the view that factors that brought the hype no longer exist. “The hype was contributed by lot of anxiety, fear and concerns that existed among Batswana. This include among others the death of BMD Leader Gomolemo Motswaledi and the fear that was brought by the security agents. So the environment was totally different. The hype that we saw in 2014 can only happen if something that can spark fear or concern in the country,” Gobotswang emphasized
Another local political commentator Lesole Machaka also dismissed the current UDC stating that they do not stand a chance against Masisi’s presidency looking at how he is reversing some of the issues on which the opposition used to campaign on. “The main problem is that our opposition parties do not use their manifestos or ideology to campaign but rather use issues at hand. They forget that these issues and situations are temporary,” stated Machaka in an interview warning the opposition parties to desist from using current issues as campaign tools.
Machaka said that what kills the opposition parties is lack of patriotism. “Patriotism is lacking in our politics and as long as we do not have our opposition should forget about toppling the current regime. So I do not foresee UDC defeating Masisi’s presidency.”
Just in less than a year after his ascendance to the Presidency Masisi among other decisions that he took is mending relations with trade unions, reversal of the use of the controversial Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) as well as addressing public servants concerns over salary increments. Recently the influential Trade Unionist Johnson Motshwarakgole’s video praising and endorsing Masisi has been circulating on the social media raising suspicions that he might be aligning the Unions with the new administration.
Despite the views by analysts, the BDP is roped up intense political infightings between the former president and the incumbent which bears likelihood to benefit opposition in the long run.