Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Advocate Duma Boko has indicated that they are still waiting for the letter from Registrar of Societies confirming the error communicated in the letter dismissing UDC as a party.
The Registrar of Societies, Davids Okello-Wengi wrote to the UDC Secretary General in response to the two constitutions submitted by the warring parties within the UDC. Responding to the submitted constitutions the Registrar said that UDC is not a political party but a cooperation agreement by the four political parties for a common political goal.
“All four parties are listed in the schedule, therefore, in our opinion, the registration of UDC’s Constitution falls outside the scope of the Act,” reads the letter in part which some within the UDC have described as confusing.Advocate Boko said the response by the Registrar was contradictory and they had to meet face to face with Attorney General to clear the matter. He said that is time they discovered that the utterances by the Registrar that UDC was not a party should not have been made.
Okello-Wengi described in the letter that the term “society” is defined in Section 3 of the Act to exclude any political party listed in the Schedule of the Act. The Registrar listed the political parties in the Schedule to the Act as BMD, BCP, BPP and BNF. “Therefore, the registration of political parties falls outside the scope of the Act,” reads the letter dated 13 August 2018.Advocate Boko said that during the engagement with the Registrar and AG it was agreed that the response was erroneous.
“They said the last part of the letter was not in order. It was at that meeting that even the AG discovered ambiguity of the Societies Act and has promised to attend to it. It was disrespectful of the Registrar to have written the letter in such a manner. “We were not submitting a new Constitution but we were submitting amendments to the UDC 2012 Constitution. That 2012 UDC Constitution has transitional clause which allows us to make amendments that is as simple as that.
There is no confusion or what-so-ever”, The UDC leader stated. He said they have told the Registrar to write another letter to clear the air because it seems people have been confused by the letter from Registrar.The Constitution which has been submitted to Registrar of Societies has divided the four UDC constituents- Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP).
BCP and BNF are in one corner pitted against BMD and BPP in another corner as they oppose the submitted constitution. Both BCP and BNF set themselves targets during their respective Conferences last month. BNF resolved that having noted that the new UDC Constitution has been filed with the Registrar of Societies the BNF should ensure that the process is concluded within twenty-one (21) days.
The BCP on the other hand resolved that having been appraised and deliberated thereof on the developments within the UDC collective, conference resolved to remain in the UDC, but directed that due to limited time before registration of the general election, all outstanding matters within the UDC should be resolved by mid-August 2018.Addressing a political rally in Gabane this past weekend, Advocate Boko called for calm within the coalition movement.
He said BCP is a bonafide member of the UDC and wondered what the confusion was. He told the rally that the BMD leader Advocate Sidney Pilane has bowed himself and indicated that he would listen to Advocate Boko as the party leader. “Advocate Pilane has told me that I should speak and he would listen. He would follow my instructions. Let us refrain from attacking him because he has made it clear to me that he wants to work with us to liberate Batswana. If he is ready to work with us, why should we always attack him?” asked Advocate Boko.
The UDC leader dismissed claims that he is afraid of Advocate Pilane. He said none of the insinuations should be taken seriously. He pointed out that they have even fought their legal wars at court but that should not divide them. Advocate Boko said differences within the UDC leadership should not be treated as fights.“We will always differ but at the end we would come to an agreement,” he said. For his part Advocate Pilane said presidents of the four contracting partners should sign for the amendments to be incorporated into the constitution.
He said the signing should be done as a matter of urgency. The BMD leader however cautioned that the signing should not be just for the sake of signing. He posited that every party that signs should do so with commitment that all the UDC candidates would be supported and voted for by all UDC members regardless of the party they come from.
There has been talk that some members of BCP and BNF have vowed not to support BMD candidates during the 2019 general election. The argument has been that BMD do not have credible candidates to win elections for UDC.