On Tuesday night, Umbrella for Democratic Change President , Duma Boko and the coalition’s National Executive Committee delivered a verdict on the political impasse between the two factions of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) following the infamous Bobonong congress in July.
The verdict that in essence called for reconciliation between the two warring factions was met with mixed reactions from the public.
Voice Reporter, Daniel Chida interviewed political analyst and professor of political science at the University of Botswana, Professor Zibani Maudeni on the matter.
Q. What do you think of the verdict?
The UDC failed in mediation because they took the court route, they acted like a judge in a case in which two warring factions were supposed to be assisted to arrive at their own verdict.
They were supposed to work on the positives or common position but they failed to do that.
It should have been parties themselves that negotiated under one roof to arrive at the final decision.
The role of a mediator should have been to make the two factions sit at the table and talk until they identifed common ground but it looks like that step was omitted and at the end no solution was provided.
Q. Was the UDC the right entity to mediate?
UDC should have found experts to help them to resolve this crisis but they omitted that part of the process and now they have failed to provide answers. Boko was sitting there like a judge, which is wrong.
Q. What is your take on the fact that Pilane is no longer an ordinary member of the BMD but the President of the BMD respected and accepted by some.
Ndaba’s team made a mistake by denying Pilane membership because he had to fight to find his way in and now he is firing them.
They declared a war on him and now they have to accept that they lost.
There are allegations of Pilane having used the money to buy his way into the party but we cannot blame him because money has always been part of politics.
One faction cannot win always like it is the case in Botswana Democratic Party.
Q. What do you think Ndaba Gaolathe should have done?
As BMD president, Ndaba should have provided leadership prior to the Bobonong congress.
He shouldn’t have allowed himself to be intimidated by the Pilane faction. As a leader if you don’t have powers you find a way to create them.
You don’t just sit back and expect things to go according to plan without you making them happen.
There has been news of the formation of a new party. Would that be the right thing to do?
Ndaba failed to control only two BMD factions. The question then is how would he be able to lead and control a party made up of factions from different parties who sympathise with him right now?
I think the new party would be the most difficult party to manage.
Those coming from their parties would want to hold certain positions of power and this on its own would be ground for divisions.
Q. So what do you suggest that they do?
Instead of running away you must stand your ground and fight your battles from your corners the same way the likes of Daniel Kwelagobe and his followers have been doing within the BDP all these years.
Remember BMD ran away from Botswana Democratic Party. How long will they keep on running?
Q. In case they form their own party, can they make an impact in 2019?
There is a possibility that they may bounce back. What I know about these guys is that they are vigorous campaigners, they destroyed the BCP in 2014 and Boko would be their number one target.
They are capable of making their opponents lose credibility because they don’t talk politics of policies but character assassination; they target you as an individual.
They are good at destroying their opponents. If their opponents don’t respond in kind, it will be game over for them.
They tarnished President Ian Khama’s name so bad prior to the elections that he had to run around constituencies many times campaigning in 2014 because he could see power slipping away through his fingers.
Q. Any chance of opposition winning power anytime soon?
Yes they do have a chance to win but don’t rule out the involvement of BDP and DIS in all this mess.
We don’t know how, but these security organs want to see opposition destroyed.
That being the case, BDP has its own problems, which are likely to spill out soon.
Q. Lastly, what is your advice to BCP as new comers in the UDC?
I don’t know whether to advise them to go back and continue campaigning and selling their party on their own out of the UDC or to stay, but if you look carefully you can see a mutual hatred between BMD and BCP, the two parties don’t get along at all.