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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The country’s long time rulling party, Botswana Democratic Party is expected to win the upcoming general elections albeit without an outright majority. This is according to a fresh report coming from Africa’s leading bank by assets, Standard Bank.

The report, which covers politics and economics of countries where the banking group has operations such as Botswana, was made public last week.  BDP, which has ruled the landlocked country since independence more than 50 years ago, is likely to enter the general elections a highly divided lot.  This is largely due to the standoff between President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor, Dr Ian Khama. A former army commander, Khama is backing Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for the BDP Presidency ahead of the party’s elective congress expected in July.

“Despite the dispute between Ian Khama and Masisi, we still expect BDP to win the general elections in October 19, though perhaps not by an outright majority. “Chances of the UDC (Umbrella for Democratic Change) coalition strengthening before the 2019 general elections are slim, not while tensions about the constituencies persist,” said the report titled African Markets Revealed.  BDP won 37 of the total 57 constituencies in the last general elections held in October 2014. Following the results of the 2014 general election the BDP leadership was concerned by its declining popular vote as the party only managed 47 per cent of the popular vote, the party’s weakest performance since 1966.

The report further noted that, ‘lack of cooperation between the main opposition parties may provide some safe haven for the ruling party’. ‘Hence, if UDC coalition was to unite amid BDP weakness, it may lead to the ruling party losing the general election to UDC’. However, it appears the opposition parties are also divided post the 2014 general election where they made inroads into BDP constituencies. Botswana Guardian last month reported that Alliance for Progressives, a splinter party from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), has outrightly rejected advances from UDC to join them ahead of the highly anticipated elections.  

AP is led by Ndaba Gaolathe, son to former finance minister, Baledzi Gaolathe, who was a BDP member. Previously, there were reports that BDP is courting Gaolathe junior. Meanwhile, Standard Bank which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has made it clear the current political turbulence as impermanent.  “We view the current political turmoil as temporary; we expect no significant deviation from the current economic policy, even if the BDP lost the election,” said the report in part.

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Botswana National Front President Advocate Duma Boko says this week he is expecting a team of experts who will do a survey for his party regarding next year’s general election. Advocate Boko stated that this is part of his strategy as leader of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to topple ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from government. He revealed that he recently engaged experts to do a study for UDC on what should be done to win the 2019 general election.

“They have given me a report. According to their report 34 percent of electorates are aligned with the UDC. Most of these people are the youth. Next year is for regime change and if we cannot change government then we are wasting our time. The report has recommended that we should target this group of people and ensure that the message we are going to craft for general election speaks to them. They would be here to do thorough analysis,” said Advocate Boko who accepted that there are problems in the UDC.

He said the UDC contracting partners need each other desperately. He said the UDC would engage in precision marketing in order to win the general election. He said challenges at UDC are unique and resolving them needs to be approached with care. The UDC leader told BNF conference in Rakops during President Holidays that as a collective they have to identify problems at UDC. He explained that after identifying the problems then they have to come up with diagnostic treatment.

“I have been under attack for refusing the kicking out of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) from the UDC. I was not refusing just because I wanted to. I told you that to do such we would be creating more problems in the UDC. I told you that it would be unlawful to do that. I said we should find another way of dealing with the matter. I accept all the insults that were hurled at me by you,” he said.

He said as the party the BNF needs to have vibrant constituencies, wards and regions. Advocate Boko revealed that the ten regions would be coordinating the 2019 general election. The UDC leader pointed out that the BNF has to decide if they want to be considered the backbone of the UDC or the belly of the movement. “If you want to be regarded as the backbone of the UDC, then you would have to act like one,” he said. Advocate Boko stated that they have to face the challenges bedeviling the UDC.

BNF is currently at loggerheads with BMD over constituencies. The BNF conference sent a strong message to the BMD when it resolved that there should be primary elections in all BMD constituencies and wards except constituencies where BMD is incumbent. Out of the 13 constituencies, BMD is only incumbent in two constituencies being Molepolole South and Mochudi West.

The BMD however has already chosen candidates for most of its constituencies and wards. BNF conference resolved that ‘noting that after several and consistent requests BNF made to have a bilateral with BMD to address the representation issues, BMD has consistently not been responsive. We therefore resolve that there should be joint primary elections under the UDC in all the parliamentary and council seats allocated to the BMD in 2014, except where it holds incumbency. If this fails, then the BNF should assume the leadership of these constituencies and wards. The UDC Congress would be the final arbiter if the above two do not succeed.’ BMD has in the past indicated that it would only have bilateral talks with their colleagues if any party interested in some of its constituencies should be prepared to swap.

Published in News
Monday, 23 July 2018 11:15

New UDC constitution on trial

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) could find itself in court over the Constitution that has been filed at Registrar of Societies.The new Constitution was filed last week Friday. According to information gathered by this publication one of the contracting partners, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is contesting the submitted Constitution. The new Constitution has incorporated amendments tabled during the February Congress that was held at Boipuso Hall.

The congress wanted the constitution to be amended by removing the provision that catered for two vice presidents and replace it with one vice president to align it to the republican constitution. The new constitution now caters for one vice president and has given powers to the National Congress instead of the National Executive Committee (NEC). It also gives UDC powers to suspend and or expel a contracting member. The constitution recognises Botswana Congress Party (BCP) as a member of the UDC. Members of the NEC are President, Vice President, National Chairperson, Treasurer General, Secretary for Communication and Publicity, Secretary for Legal Affairs, Secretary for Labour Affairs, Secretary for Gender Affairs, Secretary for International Affairs, Secretary for Youth Affairs and one member from each of the contracting parties. The NEC shall hold office for a period of four (4) years until the next election.

During its conference in Rakops this past weekend, one of the contracting members, Botswana National Front (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. It has emerged that once the constitution has been adopted the NEC might call a special congress for adoption of the constitution.

“The BMD is contemplating contesting the Constitution in court because that is the wrong constitution. It is unfair to have registered a constitution which we do not know. The correct constitution has provision for two vice presidents and not one,” said a source. BCP President told journalists in Bobonong after the party’s conference that the submitted constitution provides for one vice president. Sources have however indicated that the BMD would humiliate itself if they try to challenge the constitution. It is alleged that the BCP and BNF believe that the incorporated amendments from the February Congress are the voice of the people and the constitution should reflect as such. “That was a political solution and it would be wrong to go against the will of the people.

The February congress was a decisive congress and nothing would change that. The argument by BMD that the congress was not decisive cannot be entertained. We cannot be taking our members for granted and expect them to gather around and not take decisions,” said another source. The BMD has for long maintained that the February congress was not decisive and nothing that came out of that conference was binding. BMD Spokesperson Winfred Rasina said as the BMD they know nothing about the submitted Constitution. He said as far as they know the Constitution that was agreed by the UDC structure being NEC, caters for two vice presidents. He said the one which has been submitted at Registrar of Societies is not a UDC Constitution.

“We have decided that we should give our colleagues who submitted the constitution to go and recall it. We take it that what they did was just a mistake and we are hopeful that the mistake would be corrected. The constitution accommodating two vice presidents was agreed by all the four parties and the one with one vice president is not for UDC,” said Rasina in an interview after BMD National Working Committee held a meeting on Wednesday. According to Rasina, the submitted Constitution would be the one where BCP is not a member. He said BCP is the one that suggested two vice presidents. He said the BCP had also suggested for UDC+ which was rejected. “That Constitution which you say was submitted according to us does not exist,” he said. Rasina could not be drawn into discussing their next move should the constitution be recalled.

The constitution is said to have been filed by UDC leader Advocate Duma Boko and Saleshando who is also one of the UDC vice presidents. Interestingly the constitution under suspension or expulsion states, at Article 21.1.1 that the National Congress and/or the National Executive Committee may by resolution suspend or expel a group member for acting against the interests of the Umbrella; failing to attend more than two (2) consecutive meetings of the National Executive Committee without an apology acceptable to the National Executive Committee; or failing to pay its group membership fees.

BMD might also face expulsion should it not agree to one of the resolutions taken by both BCP and BNF that there should be primary elections in all the BMD constituencies and wards except where the BMD is incumbent. “The UDC has not notified us of any new constitution. Naturally so we are not a part of any new constitution. We thus cannot be talking about something we are not a part of. We are only aware and a part of a constitution that accommodated the BCP into the UDC. And that is the constitution that exists.

“Any new instrument, or suggestion may be taken up with the UDC NEC and such a structure, comprising of four contracting parties may agree on way forward. It is not for any individual party to decide or resolve anything on behalf of the UDC. Such will be an anomaly that in politics, the view being national governance, will communicate something against the view,” pointed out Rasina.

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Monday, 31 July 2017 11:24

“Let the child live’- Boko to BMD

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko will need the wisdom of King Solomon to try and solve the two-warring factions at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). 

It is an open secret that the troubled Orange Movement is facing a leadership crisis and needs help. In the book of 1st Kings Chapter 3 verses 16 - 28, King Solomon presided over a difficult dispute between two women each claiming she was the mother of the child; Since the two factions have written to UDC claiming the ownership of the party, Boko should apply his mind like King Solomon and take a decision that will save the life of the once peaceful and vibrant movement. 

Speaking this week, the calm Boko assured party members that as the leadership they will make sure that “the child lives” and calm the storm of division.

When speaking about internal wars at BMD, Boko who was once engaged in the same battles at BNF seven years  ago, projected an air confidence that they will overcome the BMD impasse. As they say experience is the best teacher, Boko has traversed the road that BMD is currently on and it will be easy for him to steer the sinking ship of the Orange Movement to the shore. 

“As leader of BNF, I have acted before. I have been in court myself, playing the role of attorney, accused and defendant defending BNF. We were fighting over the constitution of the party. What it allows me as the President to do and not to do? Who is better placed to understand the constitution,” he said. From this explanation, it was clear that Boko does not see the wars at BMD as a huge task for him as a leader because of the experience he has had with BNF when it was embroiled in the same internal wrangles. 

But political analyst, Anthony Morima says it will be a huge challenge for Boko to solve the impasse at BMD. According to Morima, Boko took a long time to resolve the wars at BMD. “I do not think Sydney Pilane faction will easily compromise because Gaolathe faction has ignored them for a long time. They called them for a hearing they never bothered to attend. Yet they went to Bobonong even though they claimed not to recognise the decision taken by the National Executive Committee,” he said adding that only the court can solve the impasse at BMD or a split.

Another political analyst, Leonard Sesa differs with Morima saying it would be suicidal if any faction would try to form a new party. He said only the special congress conducted by UDC could resolve the BMD impasse.

Morima does not see Pilane handing the Presidency to Gaolathe faction because he was elected according to the constitution. “The BMD situation is different from BNF because at that time Boko was fighting with people who did not have numbers. Gaolathe made a legal blunder and Pilane was elected according to the constitution. I don’t see Boko solving this issue because of egos among the two factions,” he said.

In his address Boko spoke about the importance of obeying the constitution, something that the Gaolathe faction is said to have failed to do. “The constitution of any organisation is a contract and one must conduct himself according to it,” he said. Morima argues that if Gaolathe and his faction go to court they will lose because they did not take the BMD constitution seriously.“The fracas at BMD will continue without an end. Remember this is a battle for state power. Those factions are positioning themselves for regime change in 2019. So I don’t see them easily compromising,” he said. He agrees with Boko that if he could have earlier taken sides in the wars it could have been suicidal for him even though it could have avoided the impasse at the party.  

But Sesa believes UDC should have intervened and warned BMD about the possible effects of the congress. Sesa says the challenge with UDC is that it does not have proper structures to solve the conflict. “They are still in a new marriage and nursing internal conflict in some UDC affiliates. Lack of proper structures is common in parties in SADC region. UDC needs to have a committee which works on conflict or veterans onboard,” he said.

The verse reads, “One day two women came to King Solomon, and one of them said, Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us. One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son. “No!” the other woman shouted. “He was your son. My baby is alive. The dead baby is yours, the first woman yelled. Mine is alive. They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said, “Both of you say this live baby is yours.  Someone bring me a sword. A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, cut the baby in half. That way each of you can have part of him. Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.

The other woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby. Solomon said, don’t kill the baby. Then he pointed to the first woman, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her. Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realised that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly. 

The nation is patiently waiting to see whether Boko will apply the same wisdom that King Solomon did. This is to give hope to members of UDC who are losing trust everyday in the party leadership about lack of intervention in the BMD wars. In his conclusion Boko said, “I will differ with Solomon on this one. I am not dividing anybody. I am not dismembering any organisation. That is not going to be my solution. My solution is that the child must live un-touched not dismembered. All the parties that are fighting for the child, your job is to make sure this child is not dismembered. That’s my thinking. My vision is to unite the opposition not to break them up. That’s what Botswana National Front exists for. A ngwana a tshele.”

Published in News
Thursday, 20 July 2017 09:40

Pilane on the warpath

The President of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Sydney Tshepiso Pilane is a man ready for combat.

He is fighting to protect the movement that elected him to the helm over the weekend. Although he runs short of saying he will seek a court interdict to defuse the other BMD faction led by Ndaba Gaolathe, he nevertheless does not mince any words in his bid to achieve his two priorities - building the movement and concurrently building the UDC.

The man is so serious that he does not even want to entertain the fact that two National Executive Committees of the BMD emerged from Bobonong. Every now and then, he talks about the importance of having to follow the constitution and does not recognise the other faction. In his own words Pilane refers to the other faction as “renegades”.

Speaking to BG News Pilane said the reason why the renegades did not come to the congress is that they do not have the numbers. “The public needs not to worry, these renegades will fizzle out. I give them no more than six months that might even be too long. As far as I am concerned, Bobonong resolved all the problems that the UDC had,” he said in an interview.  

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Published in News
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 14:49

DIS secret hand behind BMD chaos

New information has emerged suggesting that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) is the secret hand behind the mayhem within the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

Botswana Guardian has uncovered a 2016 top-secret Project Proposal by the DISS’s Special Task Team whose main objective was “to neutralise Ndaba Gaolathe as ‘centre-of-power’ in both BMD and UDC.” The proposal has only four objectives. The other objectives were to: 

To neutralise Ndaba Gaolathe’s political credentials.

 

To fragment BMD into warring factions.

 

To neutralise the UDC which is an existential threat to prevailing political order and the DIS

Gaolathe is the president of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)—a splinter party of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). BMD is a member of united opposition parties; the Umbrella for Democratic Change which was formed in 2012 and had a sniff of power during the 2014 general election when it won 17 parliamentary seats and more than 50 percent of the popular vote. 

The DISS’ proposal which sources say is now in full operation describes the UDC performance in 2014 as having “sent shockwaves throughout Botswana political landscape” inversely presenting a credible political threat to the political order under which the BDP has been dominant.“Looking at this political threat retrospectively, BDP is likely to be deposed from power come 2019 General Election. This will have serious political implications that threaten our peace and stability,” reads part of the proposal seen by this publication. The DISS as per the proposal views the UDC as a serious “existential threat” to its existence (DISS). “There is a likelihood that the UDC government will dismantle the service and possibly pursue prosecution against officers. This threat cannot be taken for granted and needs to be given due attention,” reads the document.The DISS’ assessment of the UDC is that the alliance of the BMD, Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana Peoples Party poses a major political and existential threat both to the BDP and DISS. “The 2014 Election showed that unlike in previous elections, the alliance had sufficient financial support for their campaigns. This is a new and a serious political development that needs to be given due attention and neutralised.”The proposal reveals that the DISS holds Gaolathe in high regard and thus to destroy the UDC then Gaolathe and the BMD should be targeted. 

“Our assessment of the profiles of the UDC leaders is that BMD’s Ndaba Gaolathe is the ‘ace’ of the alliance,” reads the document which further notes that Gaolathe is the think-tank and strategist of the UDC and enjoys overwhelming public support and respect. Gaolathe enjoys good regional and international reputation. Having previously worked for South African and Namibian governments, Gaolathe has proven to be popular with ANC and SWAPO, the report notes. “Information reaching us is that Gaolathe is also popular with US government and is often invited to meet with US Embassy staff. Therefore, Gaolathe is the backbone of the UDC. Our assessment therefore is that, if the UDC is to be neutralised, the focus must be on Gaolathe.”The DISS also states in the proposal that frustrating and ultimately deposing Gaolathe from politics is a plausible strategy to counter the political threat posed by the UDC. “Although, Gaolathe is strong as an individual, our assessment is that the BMD as a party is very weak and therefore presents a window of opportunity. As such we propose to exploit these vulnerabilities in order to intensify factions and internal strife with the BMD.”

BMD wars started in 2015 after its Ghanzi elective congress. The elected National Executive Committee (NEC) got polarised to a point where there was a call for a special congress. The party is scheduled to elect a new leadership in Bobonong over the long weekend where two factions are fighting for control of the orange movement. 

Interestingly both camps, the one led by expelled President Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi and the other led by Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General Gilbert Mangole, have accused each other of having the backing of DISS to dismantle the party. Even though they have failed to avail proof to that effect they have always maintained that DISS is sponsoring the other to destroy the BMD and by extension the UDC.

DISS Director General Isaac Kgosi laughed off the matter when reached for comment saying there is no proof that his organisation is involved in BMD infighting. “People should stop saying things without proof. I have always maintained that if there is proof that the DISS is doing any wrong then appropriate action would be taken. I have even told the Public Accounts Committee recently that I would not entertain claims that cannot be substantiated,” said Kgosi.The proposal has a profile of Gaolathe as well as his political beliefs. “As an economist, his involvement in politics was through speech-writing assignments for Botswana’s former President Mr. Festus Mogae, who he also occasionally advised, on economic and other matters of national interest.  Gaolathe brings wide experience in economics, strategy, governance, and finance, modelling and general leadership.  

“He has worked for an economic think tank, governments, investment bank regionally and internationally at all levels,” it reads in part. 

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With tensions high at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), it is time for leadership of the coalition to intervene, observers have argued.

Things have now taken a nasty turn after the BMD Disciplinary Committee last week called for the expulsion of party President Ndaba Gaolathe with his Vice, Wynter Mmolotsi, Women’s League President, Joyce Mothudi, former BMDYL leader, Phenyo Segokgo, Chairperson of Elders Committee, Pako Keogilwe and Harriet Rampa. 

The expulsion came after they were found guilty for not appearing before disciplinary hearing on two occasions. They have once again indicated that they do not recognise the expulsions as much as they did not recognise their suspensions. Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leadership has revealed that it would not interfere with the internal squabbles at its contracting partner. However political observers believe that for the sake of the coalition movement, UDC leadership must somersault on its stance.

Political Science Lecturer at University of Botswana Batlang Seabo told Botswana Guardian that the issue of the BMD has escalated to another level. This level according to Seabo prompts the UDC leadership to intervene in order to bring normalcy to one of its important constituent members.

Political Commentator Anthony Morima explained that even though it might be thought that it is too late for reconciliation, it has to be explored. “One wonders if it would work but it is not too late. They could have even intervened at the time of the alleged unlawful youth congress before things got out of hand”, said Morima. 

BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole stated that they have tried the reconciliation process but could not bear fruit as the party President has made it clear that he would not be part of the process. “We engaged the UDC leadership, elders within BMD and even churches to reconcile us but our comrades would not move”, Mangole said.

He added that the committee has been divided since the 2015 Ghanzi Congress because the president was not ready to work with the current National Executive Committee. During their tours around the country Gaolathe-led faction has stated that they would not reconcile with Mangole, party Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Policy Director Dr Tlamelo Mmatli. They made it clear that what they want is for the trio to come and apologise to them for the suspension before the congress. They indicated that the congress billed for next week would resolve the standoff within the NEC members.

Seabo indicated that previously the UDC decided not to intervene opting to respect the BMD’s internal structures to resolve the matter. “But in light of the recent expulsions of certain members and the president, it necessitates prompt intervention from UDC. It cannot be simply left to the BMD’s upcoming congress to decide the fate of the party. There has to be reconciliation of some kind to forge peace and unity because instability within BMD or any other partner to UDC has far destructive spillover effects unto UDC project”, Seabo explained. 

Seabo indicated that the matter has to be approached with respect, sensitivity and in a conciliatory spirit to broker peace between the two factions. Morima believes that UDC President Duma Boko might have earlier feared to intervene with the thinking that he would be deemed to be taking sides with either of the factions. 

He feels an independent person should be brought on board. “UDC can use their international friends or local friends and even churches. I doubt the congress could solve the problem. The congress might fail to resolve the matter because it would depend on who is having a controlling hand on those who attend the congress. It might be chaotic or even worse than what we experienced when Botswana National Front split and we saw the formation of Botswana Congress Party. It is a disaster waiting to happen”, argued Morima.

UDC Chairman Motlatsi Molapisi told this publication that they are willing to assist but the problem is that the two factions have not approached them. He admitted that the wars at BMD have far reaching consequences. Molapisi who is also President of Botswana Peoples Party revealed that Modubule and Mangole once approached him. “But the thing is when they came to me they were just briefing me about the problems and not necessarily asking for help. Even at our last UDC National Executive Council we raised the matter but could not agree on how to go about approaching it because those involved have not approached us”, said Molapisi. 

He explained that when BNF was having its own squabbles in 2012/13 the UDC intervened and helped resolve the problem because Boko approached them. 

“The issue at hand at BMD is not such a big problem as people may want to make it look like. It is just minor differences that could be resolved even in a day. But since we respect their internal structures we would only intervene when they want us to”, explained Molapisi.

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Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South, Ndaba Gaolathe has resigned from the Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Estimates.

Gaolathe has for long decried lack of capacity in the committee as a challenge. The MP said while he is satisfied that the Executive represented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has a rigorous method to consider projects and processes he is concerned that Parliament through its Budget and Estimates Committee does not have a process at all.

Gaolathe who holds an MBA Finance (Wharton School) is probably the highest qualified member of the committee, which is chaired by Ignatius Moswaane, MP for Francistown West. “The Budget Committee considers submissions from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. It considers these submissions and they are supposed to have a process by which they actually evaluate these projects that are being submitted or proposed.

“I put it to you as Parliament that there is no process at all. In a progressive Parliament and in a progressive system, a parliamentary committee is supposed to have an objective process by which not only do they evaluate these projects but they actually score them on a number of criteria. One of these criteria may include the feasibility of what is being proposed”, said Gaolathe when debating Supplementary expenditure for the financial year 2016/17.

He stated that leaders must have the requisite personnel infrastructure to do the technical assessment when dealing with issues of budget allocation, budget appropriation and assessment of feasibility. “It is very strange here. I have seen governments and companies where assessments are done by experts. In this Parliament we have a Committee that does not have the machinery and the infrastructure to give a technical assessment about whether what we are receiving from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development or from the Executive of our Government system has merits.

“You know these lapses mean that as a system, as a Parliament we are actually irresponsible, for us to be deliberating over billions, millions and hundreds of funds without a proper process, without a proper personnel infrastructure”. The legislator said it is something that needs to be addressed decisively. He revealed that when looking at Parliamentary Committee on the Estimates and Finance report, it does not give reasons or justification whatsoever, why they have agreed or acceded to certain requests. “This in my view is a travesty.

“When you look at the request of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) by P15.5 Million and this request apparently is relating to the expanded security, management of security system platforms for the BOT50 celebrations. I really fail to understand how one can justify such a quantum for something that has been planned for in any case.”

Published in News
Monday, 20 March 2017 15:24

Mistrust rocks UDC

The Opposition coalition deal remains on shaky grounds. The marriage between Botswana Congress Party (BCP)and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) might have been declared done and sealed but the four opposition parties involved are not lying on the same bed. Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has emerged as a suspect behind the controversial additional four constituencies demand made by Botswana Peoples Party (BPP).

Four opposition parties Botswana Congress Party (BCP), BMD, BPP and Botswana National Front (BNF) have formed a united front with the aim of ending Botswana Democratic Party’s five-decade rule. The four parties unveiled their new movement, UDC, after BCP joined the other trio that had been working together. Following the announcement of the new UDC, excitement filled many little knowing that what had transpired behind closed doors was not what has been portrayed publicly by the leadership.
The allocation of constituencies, which has been a thorny issue, is refusing to set the UDC free. It is alleged that the decision by the BPP Central Committee at its recent meeting to push for an additional four constituencies was masterminded by BMD. BPP has been allocated four constituencies.

Sources say that the acrimonious relationship between BCP and BMD, which dates back to 2011 when the first attempt for coalition between opposition parties failed, is the root cause. BMD is said to be bitter that BCP has been given more constituencies and is trying with all it has to reduce the BCP numbers. BCP has been allocated 17 constituencies within the 40 allocated to UDC.

In terms of the constituency allocations, the UDC president Duma Boko revealed that inside the UDC, the BNF gets 22 constituencies, BMD 14 and the BPP four (4) constituencies. Information passed to this publication shows that of the additional four constituencies demanded by BPP, three belong to BCP being Francistown West, Nata-Gweta and Mmadinare while one belongs to BNF being Gaborone South. In all these constituencies, the BPP did not field a candidate in the previous elections.

“What also raises eyebrows is that the BPP has not asked for a constituency from the BMD. And it is known that the BMD has all along been skeptical about us joining the UDC. They just want to dilute the BCP influence. Why can’t the BPP request to be allocated from the 40 constituencies of the UDC and leave our 17 constituencies alone? We have compromised and given the Tati East which was to be given to the BCP”, said a senior BCP official who preferred anonymity.

It is alleged that the BMD hatched the plan so that it would become the biggest victor in the end. A source who was also part of the constituency allocation negotiating team suspects that should the BPP emerge victorious the constituencies would likely be handed over to the BMD under a provision of the agreement. The source wondered why BPP chose the constituencies that it had not fielded a candidate in nor seconded the BDP in the last election?

BPP did not field a candidate in Mmadinare, Gaborone South and Nata-Gweta while it came third under the UDC ticket in Francistown West. A provision has been made that where a party that has been allocated a particular constituency is not able to identify a suitable candidate, it will be expected to approach the other parties for assistance in that regard. The provision allows for trade-offs where necessary between the parties (BCP, BMD, BNF and BPP).

It is suspected that the BMD intends to exploit this provision and use its presence and numbers in those constituencies to persuade BPP to trade-off those constituencies. BMD Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi has described as “an insult” the insinuation that the BPP leadership would make that demand under pressure from BMD.

“We are not in a position to undermine the leadership of the BPP. That is an insult to the leadership of BPP and the party in general. BPP has more experience than the BMD especially in opposition politics and we respect that”, said Mmolotsi adding that as the BMD they would not be party to a matter where the BPP integrity is being belittled.BCP Information and Publicity Secretary Dithapelo Keorapetse told this publication that everything that had to be communicated to the media regarding UDC was done during the unveiling of the new project. He explained that any other issues arising subsequently are “internal matters” that cannot be shared with a third party.

For his part BPP President Motlatsi Molapisi and his deputy Mbaakanyi Lenyatso could not be reached for comment. Political Analyst Anthony Morima says if the constituencies are genuinely demanded by the BPP this would be an own goal for the opposition as prospects of winning in 2019 are negative. Morima stated that looking at the history of the BPP no one really recalls when the party last won a Parliamentary seat. He explained that even if the BPP was to say that they would be relying on support of other partners, it is unlikely that those partners would vote them because of other dynamics. The analyst argues that the BPP should rather be concentrating on taking advantage of the new UDC to rebuild itself.

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