Chairman of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Peoples Party President Motlatsi Molapisi has rubbished claims that he has been captured by President of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) to derail and collapse the UDC.
UDC contracting partners BPP, BMD, Botswana Congress Party and Botswana National Front are at loggerheads over a Constitution that has been submitted to Registrar of Societies for approval. The Constitution was submitted by UDC President Advocate Duma Boko and Vice President Dumelang Saleshando.
Now BPP and BMD have both written letters to Registrar of Societies objecting to the approval of the Constitution. In an interview with Botswana Guardian this week Molapisi is unapologetic about the stance his party has taken. He is even taking offence to suggestions that he and his party have been captured to sing the same song with troubled BMD.
Molapisi argues that the BPP would agree with any of the contracting partners who speak the same language with them. “There is no way we could be captured as BPP. We are independent and will remain so for years. We are available for any organisation that wants to engage us. BMD first approached us when they discovered that we were not attending UDC National Executive Committee meeting.
“At that time, we were disgruntled because some of the issues we had raised with NEC were not attended to including constituency allocations. The BMD encouraged us to attend the meetings while we were still pushing for our grievances to be addressed,” said Molapisi.
The veteran politician indicated that BMD and its leader Advocate Sidney Pilane have not assisted the BPP or him as the president financially or in kind. He said BPP continues to struggle as an organisation financially and no one including Advocate Pilane has assisted them.
“There is an agreement that when there are by-elections contracting partners contribute P10 000.00 for Parliament and P5 000.00. During Mochudi East by-election we contributed P5 000.00. Ralekgetho Ward and Moshupa-Manyana Constituency by-elections we still owe while in Moselewapula Ward we paid P2 500.00 instead of P5 000.00.
During the February congress parties were paying P25 000.00 and we have not paid we still owe. We told our colleagues to bear with us we would look for money and pay,” said Molapisi wondering how they could be captured and yet fail to fulfill some of their obligations as the party.
He said regarding Francistown West BMD discussed it with BCP and without BPP. He said as BPP they never asked for the constituency from BCP. Molapisi revealed that BMD only availed the constituency to BPP because “they heard our cry”. The UDC Chairman explained that sometimes in May this year ahead of an NEC meeting, BCP requested a meeting with BPP and was granted. Molapisi wonders if the meeting was a plan by BCP to ‘capture BPP’.
He said various issues affecting the UDC among them campaign for 2019 and improvements in the image of the coalition project were discussed. He revealed that the BNF has also requested for a bilateral meeting but unfortunately they have not been able to hold the meeting.
He revealed that the contested Constitution has been a pain to the UDC NEC. Molapisi indicated that the Constitution has on several occasions been brought before the NEC meetings. “It was presented to some meetings before the February congress. We have made it clear during those meetings that the Constitution is not the one that we know and we want the correct one. It was presented by Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang- BCP Vice President who was in the Main Stream.
“We rejected it and told them to bring the Constitution we all know. It later resurfaced at the February Congress. We are now surprised that the same constitution we are against found its way to Registrar of Societies' office. We were supposed to discuss the Constitution at an NEC retreat which was scheduled for early June this year. The Constitution and its contents are wrong.
We had to object to it because once approved we would not have any redress. UDC NEC has to go for retreat and close this chapter,” he posited.
Molapisi said they would have to go back to the table for the sake of the project and Batswana. He is of the opinion that the issue of Advocate Pilane being a problem has to be addressed at the appropriate forum being the UDC NEC.
He feels that also the matter of BMD constituencies should be discussed by the NEC where an amicable solution can be found. If the split of the BMD has affected it so badly that its constituencies have to be revisited, then that should be discussed at NEC meetings, he stated. This, Molapisi said, would make UDC members to have confidence in the leadership.
“I doubt BMD would refuse to have bilateral talks with other parties. If they do refuse, then the matter has to be brought to the NEC meeting to be dealt with. Now if we hear that there has been resolution taken by our colleagues at the conference about BMD it is very wrong. BMD cannot be discussed at another partner’s conference or congress- that should be left to the UDC,” he explained.
On suggestion that the BCP and BNF might pull out of the UDC, Molapisi said he had thought the two organisations joined UDC unconditionally. Now if they came into UDC with conditions then it means they do not love this country and Batswana, said Molapisi adding that what they want to hear at the moment is people calling for parties to dissolve and form one entity and not leaving the UDC.
The BPP President said BCP and BNF have strong men and women who would be able to resolve the matters and not cause for leaving UDC but fight hard to deliver a strong project that would liberate Batswana.