Ugly implications of BMD/UDC court case

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Tuesday, 07 May 2019
Advocate Sidney Pilane Advocate Sidney Pilane

Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) will not give their colleagues at Umbrella for Democratic Change a walk in the park in their legal battle. BMD has taken UDC to court after it was expelled from the coalition by the UDC last year. The case which was to start this week Monday failed as UDC senior Counsel could not attend the case due to other commitments.

The case which has been marred by controversy over presiding judicial officers is scheduled to be heard at Gaborone High Court in August 27th and 28th this year for argument. UDC expelled BMD from its fold last year only to remain with three contracting partners- Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). This resulted in BMD launching the application for review and setting aside of their expulsion from the UDC. While the BMD is set to fight tooth and nail to be declared a member of the UDC in good standing, the UDC has maintained it would not contest this year’s general elections with BMD as its member. 

BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane has accused the UDC of applying delaying tactics so that this year’s general elections would be held with the case having not been concluded.  “We are ready and have always been ready. The UDC wants to delay the case. We fully know their intentions but we would not allow them to dictate terms to us.  “We would do all in our power with all available avenues to ensure that we are not abused,” Advocate Pilane told members of the media after the adjournment of the case. 

According to Advocate Pilane if the matter is not concluded before the general election, the BMD would move to court on urgency to request that no party should be allowed to use the UDC symbol.  He said the remaining contracting members of the UDC will have to come up with another symbol or would have to use their individual symbols.

However UDC President Advocate Boko on the other hand explained that their campaigns would go on as planned and the case will not hamper them.  He told the media and UDC supporters that what BMD is seeking would not derail them. According to Advocate Boko they have dealt with BMD politically and are now ready to deal with the party legally.  He said the UDC legal team is more than ready to take the BMD head on. “We have three judges in the case and we had to reconcile our dates especially with our advocate, which is why we have settled for August because we all had to look at our diaries.  “We would be back here to deal with the matter legally and put it to rest.

We have dealt with it politically. We would not be derailed; we are marching on. Do not be misled by people, the campaign is on and nothing will stop us,” said the UDC leader.  He stated that his deputy Dumelang Saleshando is busy with the party manifesto and it would soon be ready to be presented in Maun to party members.  Advocate Boko said as the UDC they are not in any hurry because they are not the ones who brought the case to court but are only responding to what has been brought to court by the BMD. 

He feels that there is nothing wrong that they have done in expelling the BMD because they have followed all the necessary procedures as is required. The UDC leader stated that last year he threatened to resign if BMD was expelled without following laid down procedures.

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