During their annual conference in July last year in Mahalapye, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), which is a partner in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) alongside the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP), gave the coalition this ultimatum: “Democratise the UDC or we vacate the coalition after six months.”A specific date was even set for January 19, 2023, which is this Thursday the deadline date is already here, the BCP remains a bona-fide member of the UDC.“There was concern at our congress that the UDC had the tendency to disregard governance issues, as well as disrespect the constitution of the collective which has been practically put aside. Its place has been taken by theUDC president, Duma Boko and the Transitional Clause. Duma Boko makes decisions on his own,” says the publicity secretary of the BCP, Dr Mpho Pheko, who adds that nobody would want a change of government if the new government is not going to be democratic.“However, we cannot just bolt out now,” she further explained. According to her, the BCP Central Committee is in the process of scheduling a meeting before the end of this month to map the way forward regarding its relationship with the UDC,” said the BCP spokesperson, who expressed disappointment that the UDC did not respond to the BCP input which came in the form of a letter on democracy issues.According to a UDC official asking for anonymity, the BCP letter amounted to an ultimatum. The UDC official went on to suggest that the president of the BCP, Dumelang Saleshando was given the assignment to address all the governance issues by way of drafting amendments to both the constitution and other documents but, according to the source, the BCP leader is yet to give feedback.“To us, the BCP has resigned because the party constitution provides that if a partner is not happy about something, that partner can stay away for three and not six months,” he said, suggesting the BCP has been away for more than three months and therefore they are deemed to have resigned.For starters the BNF and BPP on the one hand and the BCP on the other, have always been strange bedfellows. In 2014, the BCP went into that year’s general election alone after a fallout with the UDC which, at the time, had the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) as a member. Shortly after the 2019 general elections, the rift between the two camps widened - nor was the BCP amenable to the idea of the BNF being the natural leader of the coalition.The BCP’s rejection of a BNF leadership of the coalition got strengthened by the fact that the BCP outperformed its partners including the BNF itself at the 2019 general elections clinching 11 of the 20 constituencies allocated to it. Meanwhile, the BNF and BPP won four and zero constituencies in that order out of the 32 and five allocated to them respectively. The UDC, which was formed in 2010 had never held an elective congress. This did not sit well with the BCP who argued that the practice was undemocratic. The toxic relationship escalated when the UDC suspended the secretary general of the BCP Goretetse Kekgonegile and its president, Dumelang Saleshando. The two, who were accused of washing the coalition’s dirty linen in public, and had taken their dissatisfaction with the UDC to the media.It became clear that the animosity between the two UDC factions would not end any time soon when, instead of collaborating, the coalition partners competed in the subsequent by-elections in Bophirima and Moselewapula wards respectfully.Interestingly, the BCP was humiliated as it bit the dust when the UDC won all the four council by-elections held after the 2019 by elections. While the sabre-rattling between the erstwhile partners persists, the two have since ‘moved on’ with the BCP entering into a partnership with the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and the Botswana Labour Party (BLP).Meanwhile, the UDC and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) have gotten into cooperation as well. The UDC Head Communications, Moeti Mohwasa, was not available for comment on the allegations and counter-allegations between the two political entities. And now that January 19 is here, it is likely that at their next planned meeting, the BCP will announce its official departure from the UDC.