OPENING ADDRESS AT BOSBERAAD
UNITED CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY
GARDEN VIEW, MAHIKENG
I have felt there is no better way to start this address than by saying:
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it”. Ps 118:24
One can say we are grateful that the sun has risen and the occasion is taking place. The intention of this strategic planning meeting is, as the name indicates, to plan the strategy for our Survival as a party, mounting the envisaged election campaign, familiarising the electorate with the party and setting an open and transparent candidate listing process
It is widely said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. We have therefore come to plan for the way forward.
The UCDP has come a mighty long way and should not be allowed to perish in this critical and interesting time in politics in the country. Its survival therefore depends on the joint and united efforts of all members, the executive and the ordinary rank and file members as well as those who support the course of the party.
All associated with the UCDP should rise to the occasion and concentrate all efforts on strengthening and fortifying the party. Some instead of using the opportunity they get to grow and develop the party, they ensconce and ingratiate themselves to people while they disparage other leaders so that they are placed in those positions.
For an organisation, the UCDP, in this case to function well we need to be methodical in what we do: Plan, Organise, Lead and Control the goings-on in the party. It is unfortunate that as much as some of us are at pains to plan to fortify the party, some are at full strength to scupper those efforts by speaking bile and vile about others.
Those of us place as leaders should submit ourselves to the control of the party in order to be able to control our tongues and eventually control the members placed under us. Members should equally subject themselves to party control.
The UCDP has a rich history and track record. It is not the record of some individual. All the good may have taken place in their time but it is members of the party, yourselves and predecessors, who saw to those successes. It is in recognition of that, that the NEC decided that against all odds let us set up this meeting to make a fresh start, if it means that.
We only hope this meeting will achieve the anticipated dream of making the party survive the onslaught of self immolation. We hope if we manage to cross that bridge we shall be able to stand up and speak out on the issues that the UCDP stands for as we mount the election campaign. We hope we shall all go out and speak to the electorate to vote UCDP. We hope as we leave this planning meeting we shall have an idea of how the lists are intended to be drawn.
This beraad or planning session is meant to give us an opportunity to re-examine ourselves as members and also examine whether both of us, members and the party, are in good political health.
The time has come that we reclaim the glory of the past. The political upstarts who came into the South African political scene promising the electorate heaven and earth can hardly provide the cheapest human right commodity, water. How do you expect them to provide quality education, food security and work for all except wealth for themselves?
We are here today to remind ourselves how it is done and then stand up to go to minister to our people. South Africans are yearning for sound leadership and they know that this party, the United Christian Democratic Party can stand up and serve them well.
It is this party that can and has spoken out against crime. All people of goodwill can attest to that. That is why when this party was in government women and girls cold go about at night unescorted. It is this party that can assure the nation of food security. Zambia, Botswana and other countries up north know the UCDP used to feed their people in times of need. One wonders what happened to the maize fields that used to adorn the Ditsobotla area. It is the UCDP that can offer people decent habitable houses unlike the incommodious so-called RDP houses without amenities that we see scattered all over the country side.
It is this beraad that will give the mandate as to how to reclaim that glory.
This bosberaad has been convened to conduct introspection and find out why some political parties make the leap and we don’t. It is at this bosberaad where a real soul searching has to be done by all those who call themselves members of the UCDP.
The UCDP is a good party but it has to be great. We need to move from good to great. Can a good party like the UCDP become a great party, if so, how?
Without really answering the above I have to state that the party needs Level 5 Leadership: humble yet ferocious leadership. We need to know First who and then What. We have to set the foundation from good to great. To grow great we need to find the one big thing this party must focus on. There has to be a culture of discipline to attain great performance.
As a Christian party we should walk the talk of being Christian. We should protect, respect and defend our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. Every man worth his salt should be prepared to do anything, even give his life, to protect his mother, sister, wife or daughter.
We in the UCDP should not bemused by the cynicism of the current government speaking about women’s rights and declaring 09 August Women’s Day when women suffer day in and day out, sometimes at the hands of government officials. Men should stand up for the women folk; they should speak out loudly and clearly against these abuses.
Members of the UCDP must be able to use technology. Gadgets such as your cellular phones must make you accessible to and fro. Twitter and all social media have to be the in-thing. It does not help much to rely on the post office. Members of the party have to be accessible at the wink of an eye. If the public media denies you exposure, devise ways and means of accessing one another.
From our side as the NEC, we are trying to make the party keep pace with the times. We are in the process of acquiring a machine to produce membership cards with the member’s photo and identity number so that we know who our members are and who are supporters. Each one will decide for themselves if they are members (by paying their membership fees) or want to remain supporters.
In keeping with the vision of our party let us strive to lead in uniting members and South Africans, in a truly democratic and not populist way, where we seek cheap popularity; ours should be a non-racial, no- sexist approach inspired and informed by the need to work together to build a prosperous free nation.
The UCDP is a good party but has to grow to be great and inspire confidence and respect among the citizens by fostering and protecting all Christian principles and no doubt this planning session will succeed in keeping that balance in mind. We should remember to keep our heads when all about us lose theirs. We should not strive to be like them. Remember David’s words: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of wickedness”. (Psalm 84: 10)
There are hard times ahead. Lets us not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity. Let us strive for excellence in all we do.
I have the pleasure, Programme Director, to declare this the 2013 Bosberaad of the UCDP officially open.
I thank you