“The fiasco dents the opposition cooperation”
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando who is also the Vice President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) says the time to intervene and help resolve Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has arrived- after the two warring factions of the party failed to resolve their disagreements at the party’s congress in Bobonong.
Leaders of UDC partner parties have not been commenting on BMD issues to honour the coalition agreement.
“As UDC partners we agreed that other members will intervene in other parties’ internal issues unless there is a clear indication that they are failing. But as things stand the congress has not yielded any fruits in resolving the fiasco engulfing the party. With BMD fiasco we watched at a distance to avoid interference with a hope that their elective congress in Bobonong will resolve everything. But indications are that there is a lot at stake therefore there is need for UDC leadership to intervene,” Saleshando said when addressing a BCP conference in Francistown over the long holidays.
Saleshando argued that what transpired at the BMD’s congress in Bobonong shows that it is high time UDC leadership intervened- as the controversy has the potential to dent opposition cooperation towards 2019 general elections. The UDC Vice President highlighted that for the opposition cooperation to achieve its mandate of toppling the ruling party in 2019 there is need for all the partners to be strong and united. “To show opposition seriousness in attaining power in 2019 the time to help BMD resolve their differences has arrived. We are very much concerned about what happened at BMD congress and UDC leadership has to intervene to help resolve the issue,” he said.
Reports from Bobonong show that fights broke out following clashes at the congress venue, where the two opposing were battling over access and the legitimacy of people attempting to attend the event. The clashes prompted the intervention of the police who had to call Ndaba Gaolathe and the Modubule faction to the table, to encourage them to resolve their issues without violence.
The two factions ended up conducting parallel congresses, with Gaolathe and Sydney Pilane elected presidents. It however remains to be seen which of the two camps represent the party’s legitimate executive, even though initial indications show that Ndaba enjoys the support of party structures and followers.