The Umbrella for Democratic Change leadership has taken the first step to dispel recent reports surrounding its member parties, leadership positions and the wellbeing of the party. Addressing members of the media on Friday in what in the UDC’s first public gathering involving the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) leadership since the latter’s controversial Matshekge elective congress, UDC President Duma Boko – flanked by representatives of member parties of the UDC; (his Vice, Dumelang Saleshando, Richard Gudu of the Botswana People’s Party BMD Chairperson, Nehemiah Modubule ) – seized the opportunity to preach peace and dispel what he termed false reports of instability in the party.
The flamboyant UDC President took every chance available to preach opposition unity. He told those present that currently there was no issue big enough to hinder opposition unity in the UDC even if it meant a new party joining in and reallocation of constituencies. “Kgang e ya gore di constituency di tlaa reng e na le go tshosa e bo e nna okare e tsietsa batho. Ga gona kgang epe tota, e e thata mo e ka re paledisang gore re e rarabolole re le boeteledipele le maloko a UDC,” he said, basically dismissing the issue as a non-starter. He alluded that at the end of the day when the leadership of the party fails it is up to members to map the way forward. Boko called out for members of different political parties to refrain from sowing hatred among party leaders and members by spreading fake news. According to Boko, despite numerous reports that most political leaders are at loggerheads with each other, these were just baseless. He cautioned that even statements made by some leaders of political parties should be put to scrutiny before being passed as party positions or the truth. “There is need to question whether one, even if they hold a leadership position of some sort, stand to make authoritative announcement on behalf of the organisations,” he said. He warned that members need to be mindful of the words they use towards each other as words to a greater extent are more divisive than anything else.
Just like Boko, Modubule stated that though they have parted ways with former members of the BMD who later formed the Alliance for Progressives, they nonetheless do not have any squabbles with them and were willing to welcome them back and work with them in the UDC. Though he could not ascertain whether they will give up constituencies allocated to the BMD to the AP, Modubule said it was up to the UDC to decide on the matter once they start negotiations with the AP. The BMD chairperson also cleared the air regarding their position on the two Vice Presidency positions of the UDC. He confirmed that the two UDC Vice Presidents were equal and that there was no first or second vice president among them. “We reached that conclusion to accommodate the BCP into the UDC,” he said, explaining that it is something that was wholly agreed to by the new UDC committee.
The BPP national chairperson denied any report purporting that they were not happy with the current affairs of the UDC. He denied that they were ever excluded from any UDC meetings and activities. According to him the BPP leadership and members agree entirely and approve of the current arrangement and also the party has never questioned the legitimacy of the BCP’s membership. “The BPP is a member of the UDC in good standing; if there is any member of the BPP who says otherwise, that is entirely their personal opinion not that of the party,” he said.