- Quotes biblical parable of the lost sheep to galvanize his principal into action
In what is yet the boldest declaration of intent to embrace the breakaway Alliance for Progressives (AP), the Vice President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Dumelang Saleshando has encouraged his principal, Advocate Duma Boko, to enter into talks with Botswana’s fledgling political party.
Boko is the President of the UDC while Saleshando deputises him alongside Advocate Sidney Pilane of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
Addressing himself to Boko at a rally of the opposition coalition at Gaborone West over the weekend, Saleshando said it was his responsibility to bring those who had strayed from the course of the opposition struggle back into the fold.
Referencing the biblical parable of the lost sheep, Saleshando pressed on: “More than ever before, Batswana have high expectations. Because we have just closed this chapter, just as the Bible has the Parable of the Lost Sheep (which says), even if you have 99 sheep in the enclosure, it is your responsibility to go after the single one that is missing. And we know that it is in Francistown at the moment.”
The newfangled AP was holding its third launch in Botswana’s second city as he spoke. Formed in October 2017, the AP has held its first and second launches in Gaborone and Maun respectively.
Saleshando pressed on: “Because when I spoke in February last year (to announce the BCP’s inclusion in the UDC), I was speaking sitting next to Ndaba Gaolathe, I want to be sitting next to him before the 2019 general elections.”
Preempting the possibility of a negative backlash from the AP, Saleshando was quick to state that even if some AP members might recoil at his remarks, he was coming as a brother who considered himself as their keeper.
This was the most solid indication yet that the UDC intends to court the breakaway AP into the fold before the 2019 general elections.
It remains to be seen how the AP will respond since the party’s top brass has stated repeatedly that the AP will brook no coalition with the UDC for as long as Pilane was present.
The AP is unflinching in its purpose to portray Pilane as the devil incarnate and his BMD the bane of opposition unity.
Several of its leaders, especially its president Gaolathe and its vice president Wynter Mmolotsi, have always linked Pilane to the BMD’s chaotic congress in Bobonong last year where the party’s factions broke into fisticuffs.
But more interesting would be what positions assigned AP leaders would be assigned should they smoke a peace pipe with the rest of the opposition ensemble.
At present it seems unlikely that Gaolathe could take back the esteemed position that he used to occupy. However things turn out, the supreme irony is that Gaolathe once made a similar call of joining the opposition fold to Saleshando and the BCP.