Ndaba Gaolathe should be UDC President 

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 08 March 2016   |   By Mercy Batsei
Gaolathe Gaolathe

I can’t just observe when the party I love is being torn apart by forces within the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) leadership is not telling us something, it is not well. It has not been well amongst us as the ordinary members of the BMD for a while and we managed to conceal it.  The social media has unfortunately exposed us and put up our dirty linen in public for public prosecution.  We are left with no choice but to defend ourselves and that is why I have opted to defend the BMD against any other elements. We have seen Botswana National Front (BNF) known activists gong to press that ‘the BMD is swallowing the BNF’ and we have kept quiet. The same BNF operatives have gone to the press publishing statements questioning the authenticity of joining the BMD from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). They have also questioned why those defecting from the BDP were joining only the BMD and not the BNF or the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). We have to answer these questions least we are taken to be cowards. 

I join this public discourse knowing that I am opening myself for ridicule, false accusations from both within and outside. I am, however, inspired by the knowledge that we can’t conceal truth forever. The BNF never loved us, they don’t love us. It is just a marriage of convenience to unseat the BDP and we must treat it as only that. Too much expectation will bring nothing else but shattered dreams, hopes and aspirations.  We are schooled differently from the BNF and expecting that we will behave and think like the BNF is wishing for dust in the sea. We are closer to the BDP than we can ever be closer to the BNF. We have been cultured by the BDP.  I am not saying it is wrong to be friends with the BNF, but at the same time, the BMD should not be apologetic about its growth. We should rejoice in this growth and appreciate that had it not been because of us, the BNF will have gone extinct. 

I have come across conversations elsewhere opining that the BMD leader, Ndaba Gaolathe is much more a focused leader than the BNF leader, Duma Boko and that the former should take over as the president of the UDC. I entirely concur. I have advocated to some of the BMD members that we don’t have the figure to be led by the BNF. It has no idea about running a country, we have been there, and done that and we should do that again. We can’t just be expected to come from behind at prize giving when we are leading at performance. I also opine here that since the BMD has more MPs than the BNF, it is only given that the BMD should occupy the leader of the opposition seat. This school of thought, despite toxic as it might sound, it is however the truth we need to hear.  Not many within our movement have the guts to say this for fear of upsetting the BNF, but many harbour the same sentiments. It will not be in the best interest of the UDC to deny that this conversation is taking place at various levels. It becomes imperative then to address it so that we don’t get to see a divided UDC by the time it heads for its inaugural elective congress, if such will ever materialise. 

Bakaulengwe, all I am saying is that whilst we are busy fighting amongst ourselves as is the case with Advocate Sidney Pilane, we must open our eyes to realise that the BNF is taking more that belongs to us. To avoid this, we must take our rightful place at the table and lead the UDC. We are cultured from a perspective of democracy and democracy is majority rule. We are the majority at the UDC and we should take over presidency of the UDC. Had it been the BNF with majority seats, they would not have allowed us to lead the UDC. They would have thrown in the majority rule card. It is only fair that we play the same game. 

Mercy Batsei

BMD Gaborone Central Branch Member

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