Without BMD opposition is likely to win elections
Following the suspension of the Botswana Movement of Democracy (BMD) for 14 days by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko, The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA visited Political Analyst and a former lecturer at the University of Botswana, Professor Zibani Maundeni to for a deeper insight on the issue.
Q. What can you say about last week suspension of the BMD by the UDC?
A. There have been instabilities within the UDC for some time and most of them concerned the BMD and its President, Sidney Pilane.
However what I am not sure of is the use of the social media to gauge whether membership of the UDC likes or dislikes Pilane.
They should have gone for a practical and visible sense by mobilizing members.
We should have seen demonstrations from members showing if indeed they wanted the BMD out instead of relying on social media comments but it is time to act to protect the image of the coalition anyhow.
Q. BMD’s future within the UDC has been an issue of discussion from the February Congress, what could have delayed action to be taken?
A. There could have been hesitant and expelling a member is not an easy thing.
Q. After the 14 days suspension what do you see happening?
A. I don’t know what their constitution says but I suspect that a longer suspension would be imposed on them, maybe five years or more and if it is that long it means there would not participate in the electoral process come 2019.
So it is up to them (BMD) to decide whether they disrupt the electoral process or opt out of the UDC and form their own coalition.
Q. Do you think Pilane will abide by the decisions taken?
A. He is a fighter! I am not sure if he respects the rules.
He has been accused of taking the party’s internal matters to the public whenever he disagrees with the other leaders.
He doesn’t cooperate with others and it would be difficult to work with him.
Although it is difficult to predict but being the fighter that he is, I see a court case coming.
Q. Why do you say that?
A. I once had a meeting with some BCP members who told me that there is no how they can work with Pilane.
Their fear was that if they try to cooperate with him somewhere he would still disrupt the process.
So they were of the opinion that it was better to deal with him now before taking government than waiting for him to disrupt while you are in government because it would be a more complicated matter then.
Whether you deal with him now or not Pilane would remain a problem that you will have to face at one point or the other.
Q. So what do you suggest should be done?
A. If they are to fight in the court without disrupting the electoral process then it won’t be a problem but it is possible that Pilane may organize his supporters to disrupt the activities of the UDC that could lead to political violence and the implications may be more serious.
The whole relationship has collapsed and action must be taken now when there is still time to campaign.
UDC cannot stop half way, they suspended the BMD and must now act and fire them.
Another thing that they should have revisited is the issue of incumbency.
When the Alliance for Progressives (AP) members left, the BMD should have returned the constituencies for re- allocation.
BMD is recruiting disgruntled members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to fight its coalition members instead of working together and that is counter productive.
Q. So do you see opposition taking over government anytime soon?
A. Once Pilane is out, then I see AP, BCP, BNF and Botswana Peoples Party having some form of a working relationship and not challenging each other.
If they can do that then there is possibility of them winning elections.
You see people have hope in them especially this time when the BDP is divided.
We have seen former President Ian Khama maneuvering and trying to destabilise the whole party and if all pressure plays out and more internal stability develops within UDC then it would be possible for UDC to win.
Q. Why is Khama behaving the way he is behaving?
A. Khama imposed a successor whom he thought would toe his line but that was not to be the case and he is taking revenge by going out of his way to try and make Masisi lose 2019 elections.
Khama suspects that one day if Masisi is to win elections he could find himself in court and the man trusts UDC government more than the current BDP government and that is the biggest mistake he is making.
He is safer with the current leadership because the UDC leadership would really put him in prison.