The inaugural launch of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is expected to bring together multitudes of supporters at the Gaborone Secondary School on November 10.
For the Gaborone launch, the party which will be contesting the general elections for the first time in 2014 has hired several artists to entertain an expected strong crowd of over 5 700 people. Among the artists billed to be perform at the launch are Machesa, Tyte, Obakeng, Astley Gops, Letso, and Moribo cultural group.
Phenyo Segokgo, the Botswana Movement for Democracy Youth League President who is one of the youth leaders responsible for putting together the marketing and entertainment arrangement for the launch says UDC’s investment in the launch would surely put the spotlight on the new party ahead of the general elections.
Q. For a new party, UDC is seemingly having a lot of money to spend on a single launch. Where is the money coming from?
We are working from a zero budget. UDC is relatively a new organization which depends on voluntary work.
So we are getting solace from monthly contribution of councillors and Members of Parliament.
Some Companies have been sponsoring some of our projects as well.
Q. There is a lot of excitement about the launch, what will be happening then?
November 10 to 11 has been dubbed “The Umbrella” weekend because we have activities lined up from Friday evening until Sunday.
From this weekend, the whole country will be displaying banners and posters everywhere. Posters and banners will decorate the entire 57 constituencies in the country. We will erect stalls in shopping centres to distribute flyers and the UDC message.
Models will also distribute flyers to motorists at traffic lights in an effort to reach everyone and invite them to the great launch.
Q. Who is going to pay the models?
We have beautiful girls in the UDC and they will volunteer to do the work. Like I mentioned earlier, we depend mostly on volunteer work.
Q. So why is UDC cagey about the identity of companies who have put money into the campaigns?
We are dealing with a vicious government. We are protecting the sponsors because some of them may never get tenders from government again if the BDP leadership discovers that they have been assisting the opposition.
Q. The ruling BDP has a financial muscle over the opposition. How is UDC going to overcome the challenge?
For the past years, opposition parties have been contesting elections and were doing fairly well in mass votes.
We are prepared to contest 2014 general elections with or without money because our democracy is not funded and political parties are not funded.
But it is not like we are going to sit down and cry and envy the BDP and its money. We may not have the money, but we have the will and the interest of the people at heart.
There are loads of potential voters including sympathisers from the BDP who would vote for us in 2014.
There is a brewing battle within the BDP. I can tell you that BDP is going for a second split within the next 3 years.
Q. You seem to be pinning more hope on the disgruntled BDP members as opposed to opposition members. Are you sure you have the numbers to take down the BDP?
Of course, the opposition has its numbers and they are growing. As much as we have been losing members to the BDP, it has lost some to the opposition.
That is politics, you lose some and you gain some. It is all a numbers game.
Numbers is what we need to win the general elections.
We are in a first past the post democracy and a near miss is as good as a mile’.
So we will need as many votes as we can amass including those from the BDP.
Q. Don’t you think as the opposition, especially the BMD loses its founding members t to the BDP, it loses potential voters as well?
I do believe it is sad to lose the leaders and any other member to other parties but like I said in politics some will go, some will come. They may not be the last to leave, but those who have come were not the last to arrive either.
The Umbrella has grown beyond individuals and just come to the launch you will understand what I am talking about. We live in a free country where individuals are free to choose their association.
No, I don’t believe people have lost hope in the Umbrella because the heart of the Umbrella is in its policies, not individuals. We are going to gain more members before the general elections believe you me.
Q. You Sound confident!
Starting from next year we will be getting more and more new members from the BDP.
There is a cabal within the BDP that takes very unpopular decisions and therefore there is a general feel that technocrats have hijacked the party and many members were not amused at the appointment of Tshekedi Khama to Cabinet.
The brewing power battle within the party will ultimately explode and the split is going to be even bigger and more severe than the first.
Q. You did mention during a recent political rally in Gaborone that the BDP attempted to buy you back to their side with a P100 000. How true was that statement?
That was a political rally talk. Whatever we say at a political rally cannot be used against us in any court. The law covers us.
Q. You haven’t answered the question. Was it or was it not true?
It was true. Everything I said there was true. It is an open secret that when BDP recruits, it promises people money. Some even promised me a constituency.
Q. Who are these BDP people?
They are BDP activists.
Q. Okay then, back to the UDC launch, any special reasons for choosing G.S.S grounds as a main venue?
We have chosen the G.S.S grounds because it is in the city centre and because it is more of a revolutionary ground. Remember that it is the same venue where workers convened during the historic civil service strike of 2011.