- Saleshando confirms UDC engaging with BMD members
- UDC, AP talks still on going
Allegations that the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has approached estranged Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) members to rejoin the Umbrella have been confirmed by UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando.
Botswana’s opposition coaliation UDC is said to have embarked on a recruitment drive of members of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Members of Parliament (MPs) candidates and Councillors.
Members of the UDC met, recently in Gaborone and according to those in attendance, the meeting was to give attendees an update on new developments happening within the UDC and also a chance to welcome new members into the party.
The Botswana Gazette has been informed by attendees that a number of new members from BMD were welcomed;the list included sitting BMD Councillors. BMD’s Molepolole South MP Tlamelo Mmatli was spotted at the meeting held at Moselewapula Junior Secondary School. However it was revealed that the party’s leadership was unable to give a commitment regarding constituencies that were vacated by the expelled BMD.
“We were only told that they (UDC leadership) are still in talks with AP (Alliance For Progressives), but they didn’t really touch too much on the subject,” said a source who attended the meeting.
The Botswana Gazette has been informed that the UDC have not shifted their position in relation to the BMD but rather a number of MP candidates and councillors have been approached to ditch BMD for UDC.
“The BMD is not a member of the UDC, and that has not changed, but the door is still open for BMD members who want to join the UDC,” revealed the source.
UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando confirmed that he was aware that some party structures have approached BMD candidates.
“There are some of those who defected and we welcomed them at our last meeting. We have put out an open invitation to all BMD members out there that they are free to join the UDC and some have responded to that and joined us,” said Saleshando.
“As far as I understand, yes there have been some engagements with some individuals, but I am not aware which individuals have been targeted.”
UDC are still without representation in 14 constituencies which were held by the expelled coalition member of UDC, BMD.
Late last year this publication reported that members of the BMD were displeased with President Sidney Pilane’s decision to drag the UDC to court for expelling the BMD from the UDC. A leaked WhatsApp conversation amongst BMD candidates, prominent members of the party expressed concerns over escalating the deterioratation of opposition unity. The candidates warned against selfish motives, and called for focus to be given on coming together and uniting as opposition parties in the country.
BMD Chairman Nehemiah Modubule stated at the time that, “We have to come together as opposition parties, we need a united opposition. The reason why we went to court is because we want to unite the opposition in 2019. We need to remain focused and not be derailed by what we read in the papers, all we are seeking for in court is that the decision to expel BMD be nullified,” when contacted for comment on the leak.
Furthermore, AP’s party Chairman Puis Mokgware says UDC are yet to respond to their demands in the ongoing talks between the two parties.
“They have written to us, and we have responded to their letter. They wrote to us asking to have a dialogue and we have accepted their requests. Until this point they have not replied to our letter and we are still waiting on them,” Mokgware told The Botswana Gazette.
He was however reluctant to reveal the contents of their letter stating that it would harm the ongoing negotiations.