- BPF NEC takes decision to join UDC pending congress ratification - BPF gets equal representation at UDC NEC - Suspended president Biggie Butale demands reinstatement

The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) National elective congress scheduled for next month is expected to ratify the decision to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

This comes after the UDC revealed that the BPF has joined the coalition and will have equal representation at the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC).

The UDC now has four members BPF, Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana National Front (BNF), and Botswana People’s Party (BPP).

The BPF joins the UDC when tensions are heightened with one of its affiliates, BCP, having given the NEC six months to consider its demands failing which will take another path which includes exiting the UDC.

The decision by the BPF NEC to join the UDC has equally divided the party as some believe the NEC should have waited for the congress slated for Tati Siding to decide on the matter. Others have been of the opinion that the BPF should form a pact with the UDC than join the coalition.

The BPF and the UDC are expected to establish working streams to work on the Constitution and policies by the 28th of September 2022. Constituencies and ward allocation will be looked into immediately after the release of the delimitation report.

BPF Publicity Secretary, Lawrence Ookeditse this week revealed in a statement that the NEC met on Tuesday to discuss the outcome of the negotiations it had with the UDC on Saturday.

He indicated that the announcement of joining the UDC for the purpose of forming an election alliance is a matter that will be put to the upcoming congress for consideration and to ratify.

“In the meantime, the BPF NEC will work with the UDC NEC as outlined in the statement in order to present comprehensive recommendations to its congress for ratification.

“To affect this, the BPF shall have four members sitting in the UDC NEC. These are the offices of President, Secretary General, National Chairman, and Publicity Secretary,” Ookeditse said, adding that the NEC will meet leaders of various structures.

The BPF’s division over UDC membership comes at a time when the party is dealing with tense infighting ahead of its elective congress.

The tension which allegedly started at the time when MP Tshekedi Khama was roped in as Secretary General of the party has now escalated following the co-opting of former MP Samson Guma as Secretary for Economic Affairs.

Moyo who was roped into the NEC early this year is said to have caused some panic within the NEC and membership especially those aligned to Tshekedi. Tshekedi Khama and Moyo are long-time rivals dating back to their days at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Since his arrival at the BPF, Moyo is said to have captured the NEC save for about three members who are said to be close associates of the secretary general.

News from the BPF corridors suggests that those who have been close to Khama have now jumped ship and are now associating with Moyo.

The BPF stability is also threatened by the failure of the NEC to resolve the issue surrounding the status of party president Biggie Butale who is still languishing in suspension.

There has been no or little progress in dealing with the disciplinary hearing for the party president and fears are that Butale will not be able to defend his seat in the coming congress while the disciplinary process stalls.

Butale has since written a letter of demand to the BPF for his reinstatement as party president. He has threatened to sue the party should it fail to reinstate him.