As the National Executive Committee of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) met in Francistown yesterday (Saturday) to discuss leadership challenges that crippled one of their alliance partners, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), the Sidney Pilane camp remains disinterested. The Chairman of the Pilane camp – who are adamant that they were constitutionally elected at the violent Matshekge congress – Nehemiah Modubule said Friday night that he cannot say with certainty that they have any possible expectations from the Saturday meeting because they do not know what it will discuss in relation to BMD. Asked if the UDC intervention was not sought by the two camps in his party, Modubule responded: "Look, the UDC has its own constitution. All the individual members of the coalition have separate constitutions that govern how those entities are managed. I am not sure what the Saturday meeting is going to consider about BMD. We have not asked UDC for any intervention". Such position differed with what UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohoasa, had earlier confirmed, saying the meeting will consider the BMD matter as part of the agenda. The meeting takes place at Thapama hotel, where each alliance partner will send four representatives with the exception of BMD who are still embroiled in a dispute. Probed further about developments in the BMD where he is alleged to have intensified recruitment and is strengthening his faction in Lobatse – a constituency he once led as Member of Parliament under the BNF – Modubule said divisions have spread throughout the country. "Those men (Ndaba camp) who are said to be planning to form a new party are forming parallel structures within the BMD everywhere. Not only in Lobatse. They are the ones dividing the party," he retorted. With the rivalry and tension at BMD not abetting UDC president Duma Boko will lead the executive of the alliance into a highly charged meeting seeking to find an amicable resolution to the standoff. Francistown was expected to be a hive of activity when UDC leadership descended in the Northern city to ponder challenges besieging their comrades at BMD.
Already a magnanimous task due to deep seated animosity, the problems that the UDC has to resolve are compounded by growing lawlessness and cracks beginning to emerge within other alliance members and within the coalition itself. Although Boko had called for members to exercise restraint on the sensitive BMD infighting, already youth leagues of the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) have made their position public. The BNF youth have gone further and suggested what their parent organisations should push for in the mediation process, which started on Saturday. On the other hand, BPP youth have raised questions about illegibility of the Botswana Congress party (BCP) representatives forming part of the national executive meeting of the UDC, particularly because the party is yet to finalise its status within the coalition. In the ongoing furore Boko and BPP president Motlatsi Molapisi have been caught in the crossfire after the latter gave a two-week ultimatum for the resolution of the BMD standoff. Boko has not been sparred as some alliance members have been accusing him of failing to proactively deal with the standoff at BMD before it deteriorated into a violent fallout. He, however, has remained steadfast insisting that the UDC can only intervene once the warring factions have sought the intervention of the parent organisation. Now that the opposing factions have submitted reports and parallel leadership list to the UDC for consideration, Boko and his executive have to ponder the situation and provide a solution. Although the Sidney Pilane camp have provided only one position – that they are a legitimate committee and are not amenable to a re-run of congress, the Ndaba camp who are confident of a big following should an open contest be declared have also hinted at exploring other options. Besides openly asking for a re-run of the congress under the supervision of the UDC, Ndaba camp has also considered the legal route, and will consider the formation of a new party as a last resort.