The United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) was formed by the late Lucas Mangope, head of the apartheid-era “homeland” of Bophuthatswana.
Mangope was among the first homeland leaders to accept so-called independence for his scattered country for the Setswana-speaking people.
The UCDP was the only party allowed to operate in the territories under his control. The UCDP is a quasi-religious party with a strong regional base: North West province.
The party was formed after the 1994 election when Mangope revived an organisation that existed in the former homeland in the 1980s.
The core of the UCDP’s support stemmed from disgruntled civil servants and the urban centres of North West and tribal chiefs and headmen from the rural areas.
In September 2013, the North West High Court in Mahikeng dismissed an application by Kgosi Lucas Mangope to be re-instated as both the party leader and a member of the UCDP.
Mangope had taken the UCDP and its then-president Sipho Mfundisi to court following the party’s alleged refusal to allow him.
With each election, the UCDP has experienced dwindling electoral fortunes. In the 2009 elections, the party was reduced to two seats. In the 2011 local elections, the party won 51 468 votes or 0.15% support. Five years later UCDP only received 28 241 votes (0.07%).
At the Federal Congress in 2019, Mfundisi was succeeded by the current president Modiri Desmond Sehume.