Some candidates are confused regarding whether Khama is a friend or foe
As more and more Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidates invite former president Ian Khama to their rallies for his popularity, other confused members are putting pressure on the opposition coalition to take a clear position on the matter and pronounce on it.
Although dithering at best, the leadership of the Umbrella for Democratic Change seems to have taken a pragmatic position and left it to individual candidates to decide whether to disdain Khama as a divisive figure or to embrace him for the electoral capital that he carries, especially in large parts of the Central District. Those taking to Khama with alacrity seem to have taken the view that there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies but only permanent interests in politics.
Khama and the UDC started courting each other after it emerged that President Mokgweetsi Masisi was their common enemy. The view that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” was evident in World War II as the United States, Britain and Russia teamed up against Adolf Hitler’s Germany. “Khama is a former president and as is common practice in our nation, we accord him respect and courtesy whenever he visits or officiates at different occasions,” says UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa.
It is held within the UDC that the coalition’s relationship with Khama is fragile and complex, hence the dithering. But some members have expressed confusion regarding whether Khama is a friend or foe. In the midst of this, Khama has pronounced himself willing to assist anybody with a clear goal of ousting Masisi and he has spoken kindly of the UDC.
“The leadership must take a bold stance and provide direction because this is an election year and this issue could divide us,” says a senior member of the UDC who prefers anonymity.
Yet in this maelstrom, the UDC is perturbed that Khama’s new party has changed the political landscape to the point where the BPF will encroach upon what might have otherwise been its gain from the BDP because it was banking on Khama’s disgruntled supporters swelling its ranks.
Meanwhile, speculation is gaining traction that opposition parties may caucus to form an alliance to oust the BDP should they be in the majority in Parliament after the elections.