President of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Advocate Duma Boko says the purported leadership of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is illegitimate.
Advocate Boko revealed this on Wednesday indicating that BMD remains a member of UDC in good standing but the leadership that was elected at Matshekge Hill School in Bobonong led by Advocate Sidney Pilane is not legitimate and cannot be accepted.
“We have since written to the BMD and served them on Monday that they have to constitute an interim. The interim committee would then send four representatives who will sit in the UDC National Executive Committee.
“Then after that the BMD would hold fresh elective congress before January 31st 2018. The leadership that would have been elected at the congress would then replace the interim members,” said Advocate Boko.
Botswana Guardian however, has it on good authority that Advocate Pilane has accepted to comply with UDC’s verdict and is ready and prepared to step down from the BMD presidency to allow for a fresh congress.
Pilane, who was in South Africa on Wednesday, is said to be willing to sacrifice himself to prove that he has nothing against the leadership of Boko.
He wants to make it clear that he genuinely believes in opposition unity. Impeccable sources say the only thing he would not accept was if the UDC had proposed to expel BMD from the coalition, which he had threatened he would fight to the bitter end.
He is said to be happy to remain an ordinary member of the BMD and is ready to be deployed to any position should the party feel the need to.
Boko told the Press that they have given this time line so that the BMD would be part of the UDC Constitutional Congress billed for February next year. He pointed out that the draft constitution would be discussed at the congress where all UDC members would have an input before the Constitution is adopted.
It remains to be seen if the BMD, which is said to be skating on thin ice will now bow to pressure and listen to the UDC. Should the BMD disregard this order from UDC it could find itself outside the UDC.
“We are awaiting their response and we would act accordingly when they respond. We want a congress that is free, fair and credible. We will act in the best interest of the UDC,” said Advocate Boko adding that through the powers he has as the UDC president he would act.
“The powers sometimes do not have to be in the constitution. There is a case of Botswana National Front when Botswana Congress Party was formed when court ruled that the president cannot just sit and watch while the organisation falls apart.
“By virtue of being the president I have those powers to act,” he said expressing doubt that the BMD would disregard the UDC call. He said they would act not based on targeting any individual.
Earlier in the day, a highly placed source in the BMD NEC had contended that the UDC’s instruction to the BMD is not practical within the time frame given. The source said it takes time and funds to mobilise for a congress.
“Right now we are busy with the Youth Congress which is coming on the 18th of this month where resources have been channeled. So what our comrades are asking us is just too much and we have just come from another expensive congress three (3) months ago.
When you hold a congress you have to first have Ward congresses followed by Branch congresses an exercise impossible in a space of two months. You have to compile a voters roll and all these need time and resources. I think comrades are being unfair on us but we will cross the bridge when we get there,” said the BMD NEC member.
According to the Constitution of the UDC, the President the political head and chief directing officer of the Umbrella and the leader of the House at all statutory gatherings of the Umbrella; will make pronouncements for and on behalf of the Umbrella; under the overall supervision and checking of the NEC.On suspension or expulsion the UDC Constitution at Article 22.1.1 states that the National Congress or the NEC may suspend or expel a group member for –acting against the interests of the Umbrella; failing to attend more than 2 consecutive meetings of the NEC without an apology acceptable to the NEC; or failing to pay its group membership fees.
The Article further states that no such suspension or expulsion shall have effect unless the NEC – has notified the affiliate in writing of the reasons for the suspension or expulsion; and has granted the affiliate permission to present its case to the NEC.
At 22.1 regarding the Appeal the Constitution indicates that the affiliate must give notice of their intention to appeal to the General Secretary within 30 days of the decision. The appeal according to the Constitution shall be made to the NC, and the decision of the NC shall be final and binding. Where the decision to suspend or expel is made by the NC, such decision shall be final and binding.
The UDC leader said he would not respond to comments purported to have been made by Advocate Pilane regarding the congress.
Advocate Pilane has allegedly taken to social media where he stated that the BMD would not go for a fresh congress. According to Advocate Boko he would not attribute such words to the BMD because any communication they have with the BMD on any BMD issue is done formally. He indicated that BMD issues are very sensitive and they have to be approached with caution.
BMD Spokesperson Winfred Rasina told this publication that the BMD National Working Committee was scheduled to meet yesterday (Thursday) evening and would discuss the issue under ‘matters arising’ agenda item.
He said this is because NWC meetings have already been scheduled and the agenda sent to the members at the time of receiving the letter from the UDC. “It would be at the meeting that the NWC would decide whether to discuss the issue or take it up to the NEC.
“The NWC would have to consider all other factors when dealing with the matter which is why it might escalate the matter to the NEC. That is when we can communicate the BMD position on the matter,” said the BMD spokesperson.
Regarding engaging new kid on the block - Alliance for Progressives - Advocate Boko explained that the UDC does not want to jump the gun.
“We want them to indentify themselves. They have to understand what they want, what they stand for and where they are going.
“They have to establish their identity. We want all opposition parties under the umbrella,” he said adding that once the AP is settled they would come to the UDC and present their case and take it from there.