Umbrella for Democratic Change Councillor for Mosanta ward in Mochudi West, Tona Mooketsi has warned President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi against using the name of Kgosi Kgafela II of Bakgatla to ask for votes. Dr Masisi has for the second time told members of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) that he would not rest until Kgafela II who has fled to Moruleng, South Africa returns home.
He told a BDP National Congress in Mochudi over the weekend that Kgafela II has to return to the warmth of his mother’s home. Kgafela fled the country at the height of his clash with government following his cases of unlawful flogging and escaping from lawful custody. Kgafela II and 14 members of his Madibela Nkwe regiment were in May 2010 dragged before court for illegal flogging in Mochudi.
He was later slapped with another charge of escaping from lawful custody after he disappeared after a court session at Village Magistrate court following a ruling that he should be detained with others including the current acting Chief of Bakgatla Bana Sekai.
Most of the accused persons have settled the matter out of court with the complainants. In May this year President Masisi told a two-day BDP Parliamentary Candidates workshop that his government is working round the clock to ensure the return of Kgafela II.
He explained that as government they need traditional leaders in the running of the country. He told the democrats that for the past years government has been sidelining the traditional leaders something which he said fueled tribalism.
Masisi pointed out that it is time the traditional leaders are brought on board.
Mooketsi told the media this week that if the president is genuine and serious about bringing Kgafela II back to Botswana, he knows exactly what he has to do rather than use political platforms to talk about the matter. He said what the president is doing is just a political stunt. “The president knows that they would have to withdraw the charges against Kgafela II if they are serious about bringing him back home. “What we know is that the warrant of arrest is still in force. This issue is very sensitive and the president should desist from misleading Batswana about it.
“Kgafela II went to Moruleng to protect assets belonging to Bakgatla. Government has tortured our chief and Dr Masisi was part of that administration which went all the way out to frustrate Kgafela II. “It is unfortunate that the president in subjecting our Kgosi to political battle”, he said adding that the president knows the processes and procedures that have to be followed and must stop using political platforms to talk about Kgafela II. Mooketsi pointed out that the BDP wants to use Kgafela to win elections in Kgatleng. He however expressed hope that Kgafela II as a principled man would not buy into Dr Masisi’s public statements.
Masisi told the BDP National Congress that he would spare no efforts to ensure that Kgafela “is embraced in the warm bosom of his mother in Mochudi”. He said it is time Kgafela II returns to his house and country of birth.BDP Communications and International Relations Committee Chairman Kagelelo Kentse said what the president is trying to do has nothing to do with politics. He told this publication that what the UDC councillor said is ill-advised. “The president has been going around the country consulting Batswana, as he has said on the issue of Therisanyo.
“So, this issue emanates from that and it has nothing to do with politics. Bakgatla have expressed without doubt their wish to have their Kgosi back and the president is only lending them an ear. “He will do everything within the confines of the law to have him back”, said Kentse
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has rubbished claims by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) lawyers that they are delaying their expulsion case. Early this week UDC lawyers led by Dick Bayford accused the BMD for delaying the case which was supposed to have been heard by the high court on Monday this week.
Bayford also told the media that the BMD would not stop the current UDC to use its symbol during this year’s general elections. The standoff between the UDC and BMD could cast an ugly spectre for opposition and confusion among voters in the 2019 polls. The BMD has stood firm that should the matter not be completed before elections all UDC contracting partners would go solo. The party revealed on Wednesday that it is campaigning for its 13 constituencies allocated while still member of the UDC in two phases both as the BMD and as the BMD of the UDC.
The party argues that it should not be blamed for the delay of the case because it acted within the law since the inception of the case. BMD Acting Secretary General Tseleng Botlhole said the BMD acted perfectly reasonable throughout in terms of the Rules of the High Court. “Bayford lied when he said the BMD delayed in bringing the case. The BMD is not responsible for the delay that occurred. UDC and its leader Advocate Duma Boko are the only ones who are responsible for the delay, and the delays were deliberate. “The court papers were served to them in December 14th 2018.
They did nothing until 25th of February 2019. When the High Court allocated 2th April for the hearing of the case, Bayford wrote a letter saying that the date did not suit them. We were ready at that time for the case,” Botlhole told the media. She dismissed the claims by UDC attorneys that BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane admitted to having delayed the case and begged the judges for a fresh date.“The BMD did not bring the case on urgency because there was nothing urgent about it. The case, having been brought in December 2018 could be heard and decided long before the elections, the only date that matters and is decisive.
“If the BMD had brought the case on urgency, it would have correctly been dismissed with costs as was Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s case incompetently brought by Bayford,” she said. Advocate Pilane said the judges had suggested the 11th and 12 of June this year but because the UDC was not ready they could not proceed. He expressed doubt that the UDC was ready for the case even a week before because “they are fond of lying. Even Bayford has joined them in lying as a lawyer.”The BMD leader pointed out that the UDC should be prepared for a fight. He promised to end the bragging that is always displayed by the UDC members and their leaders.
“The president of the country can call snap elections. He can call them even next month. When that happens, we will ensure that no member of the coalition will go to the polls using the UDC symbol. “BMD will contest on its own so will Botswana Congress Party, Botswana National Front and Botswana People’s Party. “We will act as necessary depending on what comes our way. We are going to humble them because we also know that we will win the court case,” said Advocate Pilane.
He said it. You heard it. You saw it. Therefore, for civility and normative ethics reasons, let us not credit Duma Boko’s disgusting remarks on Atsile Masisi by repeating them here. Like the rest of the nation, I am left speechless by the snarky, petty, juvenile antics of the aspiring president of Botswana.
For a moment, just stretch your imagination, perhaps to a breaking point and imagine Botswana under a leader who carries such malice against innocent souls (children). It is hard to imagine, but it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure it does not happen in our lifetime, not even in God’s lifetime. It is our patriotic duty to safeguard our tolerant and inclusive normative value system anchored on Botho. The point is I would have equally been disgusted had it been anybody hurling such obscenities to Boko’s children. The question on everybody’s lips is, when did the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) politics hit this rock bottom? If their leader’s public comments are anything to go by, then they represent a very dangerous strain in contemporary politics.
As far as I am concerned, insults and outrageous comments can never be a cornerstone of a mature and intelligent political strategy. If for some reason you may think I am overrating strategy, just take a look at US President, Donald Trump, he has won power, but he has so far been unable to rule. He moves in circles, hoping from issue to issue; today it's North Korea, tomorrow it's Venezuela and the next day it's Iran and at the end of the day, it is all much ado about nothing. The way I understand it, our political rallies and other public platforms have always been used by parties to sell their different political ambitions and policies. No matter how weird some of those ideas were, they were nevertheless given audience because they were always in a respectful tone. But Boko’s recent remarks clearly indicate that rules of civility definitely have taken a back seat. By seeking to blur the lines between what is acceptable and not acceptable, it is testimony that the shock value is gone.
We should not allow personal, more slash and burn politics to be part of our modern election dialogue. For us the electorates, content is more than triviality and cheap-talk. We are attracted to issues that seek to secure better life for all Batswana, not abusive language. If Boko has run out of content, he should not think demeaning an innocent child could be interpreted as a stroke of a political genius. If he has personal issues with President Masisi, that is between him and the latter, it has nothing to do with the little girl. As a leader and a father, we thought Boko intuitively knew that he carried moral duty to protect children and provide for their physical and emotional safety. As a father, we thought he could promote development of positive parenting skills and a secure parent-child attachment to those that look up to him. But his remarks prove us very wrong.
Political parties and their members should be among the foremost champions of child protection. Perhaps most importantly, they should advocate within their constituencies for an end to violence and abuse against children. They should challenge attitudes and beliefs that treat violence against children as inevitable or harmless. They should spread the message that violence against children is preventable and further mobilise political will required to put an end to such violence. But Boko has decided to throw away his moral responsibility towards Atsile in favour of scoring political ‘points.’ On a positive note, he has just made our voting easy; #Eseng mo Ngwaneng.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has rolled its sleeves in an effort to launch a vigorous multimillion Pula campaign against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party ahead of this year’s general elections, Botswana Guardian has learnt. In its multi-million-pula campaign, the political movement has enlisted the expertise of a renowned political campaign specialist firm from South Africa. UDC has appointed the consultants- Status, an internationally recognised political campaigning specialists to assist them with the October elections.
Status Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Madelain Roscher has revealed that their organisation has had significant campaigning successes across Africa, “through integrated political war room solutions that incorporate a host of strategies including traditional Public Relations, new and social media, marketing, and direct campaigning methods.” He explained that Status is expected to assist the UDC leadership in communicating its vision for change, true empowerment, inclusion and development, and through its unified front and diversified leaders, the party will continue to represent the voices and the views of Batswana.
UDC has chosen the theme Bokopano jwa Bokamoso (Unity for the Future) as its campaign theme. In an exclusive interview following the crafting of the campaign theme, UDC President Advocate Duma Boko said, “the theme is aimed at every Motswana who wants to see change happen now. The BDP has been in power since 1966, which if you look at our country’s slow economic growth, absence of innovative leadership, lack of fiscal opportunity and unacceptable unemployment rates, is 53 years too long,” he explained and further elaborated: “If we want to propel Botswana into the future as the economic Gem of Africa, we need to vote for unity; we need to vote for change.
We require the people of our country to speak up about wanting more but more so, to demand change. We cannot continue to allow defunct leaders to run Botswana into the ground for personal gain. To achieve Unity for the Future, we need to be honest about the failures of our present government to ensure that our future leaders do not repeat the same mistakes.” The UDC leader stated that Bokopano jwa Bokamoso speaks to transition; by way of a comprehensive change in government, policy and a shift in mindset from the president to the people on the street. This message according to Advocate Boko addresses the future aspirations of Botswana, transitioning from a traditional mindset to a growth mindset.
“The Botswana of the future must get our adults working, our young people schooling, international stakeholders investing, and ultimately, everybody innovating. The UDC, our leadership and I are committed to always remain inspired by the people’s needs and to lead Botswana into a bright, prosperous and inclusive unity for the future,” he posited. He stated that as the UDC they believe in a united opposition, adding that the future of politics is aggregation, to bring different ideologies together.
RELATIONSHIP WITH STATUS
Advocate Boko said the Firm will be involved almost in everything that the UDC does. He however pointed out that Status did not craft the message. “We crafted the message and their job is to help us reach our targeted voter. In a campaign like this you have to get the gurus to do the job for you. Status is full on campaign and we know they would deliver an efficient world class campaign.
They have been here to do few assessments and they would continue to deploy their people here to work with us on this campaign,” he said. Status’ recent engagement was in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they assisted in the campaign of Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress opposition party which won the long-delayed presidential election in January 2019. Advocate Boko expressed confidence that if Status could manage the difficult terrains of the DRC, then it should not be a difficult assignment for Botswana. He said Status would do all the test on the ground in the country adding that politics is about marketing and one has to get experts to take out the message.
He would not be drawn into discussing how much the consultancy costs. As for the campaign, he admits that it will be costly and running into millions. He said as the UDC they will come up with a mechanism of raising funds to run the campaign. He explains that he has been engaging with the party’s foot soldiers and is convinced that they would be able to capture the message and deliver it to Batswana. Advocate Boko pointed out that UDC members would own the campaign and not the leadership. He said they would also ask their friends to assist with funding for the campaign. “You can do your estimates for the campaign, it would need a lot of money.
I mean if BDP could need close to a billion Pula while they have resources at their disposal what of us who do not have resource backing. We will ask around and I would also on my official social media pages would be asking for donations,” he said. He revealed that from April 22, he would be engaging in a fierce 10 days campaign where he will visit at least 20 constituencies. As the party preparing to take over power you must have network across the country so that you could gauge your strength, he said.
ADVOCATE BOKO THE FACE
OF THE CAMPAIGN
On being followed by controversy especially on the issues of tax, Advocate Boko said in terms of transparency and good governance, false allegations and mudslinging are often common practice during campaign periods. He indicated that he is adamant that as a public figure, his life is always open to public scrutiny. “I chose a life as a public servant so if anyone has any doubt about my professional or personal conduct, I welcome them to look into my affairs and to investigate any concerns. I have nothing to hide.” He added that dishonest accusations about tax evasion, child support, physical threats, intimidation tactics and influenced pressure will not keep him from advocating for change in Botswana. According to Advocate Boko there is no issue of tax evasion. He explained the issue is tax compliance and the taxman did not have to necessarily act the way he did when dealing with his (Boko) tax issue.
“They could have simply called me to their office if they had an issue. They were not supposed to have driven all the way to my house and called journalist to witness as they tried to turn my house upside-down. This tax compliance issue is not something new, it dates as far back as 2012. So, the people that I left with the business when I focused on my political career could not comply for reason known to them. So, people should not make it look like it is a new thing.
There are people who owe more than the P500 000 but BURS is made to run around chasing Advocate Boko. Do you think senior government officials and members of the BDP leadership and their cronies do not owe tax and even more than what I owe, you will be shocked. They are after me because their weak leader Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi is freaked out,” said Advocate Boko. He said what the government of the day is doing is far from obeying the rule of law.
He said he would not be detracted by the mudsling because his followers in the UDC understand and trust him so much.
Umbrella for Democratic Change President, Duma Boko has sent a chilling warning to Botrswana Democratic Party, that they know who the purveyors of corruption are and that their “time to eat is up”. Addressing the media on Monday in Gaborone Boko said that the corruption and abuse seen across all sectors of government was and is still a function of institutions deliberately designed to preclude any robust oversight and probing accountability.
Accountability, he said, is about a detailed account of the real costs and benefits of any trip or outing by the President and organs of the state to give the nation an “accurate visual and aural understanding of what actual value the nation derives from all these adventures”. He dismissed all the existing institutions as either, weak and tepid in the execution of their mandates or destitute of any ounce of credibility.
Turning to the National Petroleum Fund saga, Boko said these problems and challenges cannot be addressed by way of changing the faces of Presidents while retaining the same system and organisation that brought these problems to the nation. “We know who they are and we will smoke them out. Their time to eat is up,” he warned. He said the ascendance of Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi of the Botswana Democratic Party to the high office of President of Botswana is but a “frail and fitful palliative” that can only “mollify but not uproot” the causes of all these maladies.
The UDC leader said this was so because all the leaders of BDP, past and present, are complicit in the mess “we have and are culpable without exception”. Boko pointed out that the current problems in the country require systemic solutions with a comprehensive forensic audit of all government institutions to determine what happened and how the controls and processes failed.
However he said the challenges that face the country have been troubling the nation for decades since independence. The country still groans under high rate of unemployment and lack of opportunities for its people. “The health care system is most appalling and deplorable; marked and defined by a demoralised workforce, acute shortages of essential and basic medication as well as chronic inefficiency and wastage.
“Our education system continues to deteriorate at an alarming pace, spelling doom and disaster for many young people and their families, and wreaking havoc on the whole nation. Corruption and wanton abuse of office have run amok in our country”. Boko said that the UDC is ready and up to the task of liberating this country from the stranglehold of predatory and collusive dealings between the political elites and their handlers in the business community.
He explained that UDC is currently in the process of dealing with all lingering internal matters especially ward allocations and the few constituencies affected by the BMD matter. “All these will be resolved by the end of February. We demand a review of our constitution to correct the aberrations that have resulted in the current mess the country is in”. Boko said they promise to create 100 000 decent jobs in their first 12 months in office.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), a coalition between four Botswana opposition parties, is on the brink of collapse following key resolutions made by two of the main contracting parties over the weekend.UDC president, Duma Boko is now facing mounting pressure to either let the coalition collapse and let his party, the Botswana National Front initiate talks with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) or unite the warring parties within the umbrella parties—a union dubbed the ‘Peoples Project’.
UDC is an alliance between the Botswana National Front (BNF), BCP, Botswana Peoples Party (BCP) and the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). However it has not been a smooth ride for the contracting parties as they constantly fought about the adoption of an amended constitution and allocation of constituencies.BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando said at the weekend in Bobobong that, “there is no denying that the UDC is broken and needs to be fixed.” He was addressing his party’s 10th National Conference.
The BCP president, who is also the vice president of UDC, told his party members that a new UDC constitution was submitted last Friday to the Department of Civil and National Registration, claims which the BMD and BPP said they were not aware of.
Saleshando said the new constitution was signed by him and Boko. “The question that this conference has to address is how the UDC can be fixed?” said the BCP leader on Saturday. By Monday the conference had given Saleshando all the answers to his questions. The conference resolved that the BCP should remain in the UDC, but directed that due to limited time before registration for the general election, all outstanding matters within the UDC should be resolved by mid-August 2018.The conference also resolved that all constituencies and wards allocated to the BMD except those currently held by their Members of Parliament and councillors should be returned to the UDC for redistribution, a matter which also does not bode well with the BMD.
The party’s spokesperson Winfred Rasina told the Botswana Guardian this week that the BMD has already given away constituencies and they are not willing to give anymore. The BCP argues that UDC has to accept that there has been a split within the BMD following the formation of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and thus the BMD is now weak hence the issue of constituency allocation should be re-looked at and re-allocated to the BNF or BCP.Even though he was of the view that resolutions made by the BCP and the BNF over the weekend need to be tabled before the UDC for further discussion, Rasina said the BCP should also be willing to forfeit some of its constituencies otherwise they will be defeating the purpose of unity and working together.
The BNF has resolved that primary elections should be held in some of the constituencies allocated to the BMD. Regarding the constitution submitted on Friday last week Rasina said the BMD was not party to it. “Our hope is that they have submitted the right constitution,” said Rasina. According to him the right constitution has a provision for two vice presidents within the UDC. However, Saleshando told journalists in Bobonong that the amended constitution has a provision for only one vice president.
“Then they submitted the wrong constitution, maybe it was a mistake from their part,” said Rasina in response to the developments. The BMD spokesperson said the party’s National Working Committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss the matter and make appropriate decisions.
According to sources, the UDC constitutional congress which was held in February this year resolved that there be only one vice president instead of two. “They excluded themselves (BMD). They walked out of a meeting that was reviewing the final document because they said they don’t recognise the congress (February UDC congress) resolutions,” said a UDC insider. The source confided to this publication that during the period between 17th May and 20th June UDC made four attempts to meet, but in all these it was only the BCP and BNF representatives who attended.
“Although BPP expressed willingness to attend for some unknown reasons they did not pitch up.The one and only meeting attended by the BMD was on the 25th June 2018 at the offices of the BNF. However the BMD representatives had three objections to the meeting proceeding,” he said. Apparently the BMD argued that the meeting ought to have been convened by the UDC president with clear terms of reference. As a result they will not participate; that the constitution that was discussed at the February congress is not the proper constitution, as the proper constitution is the one produced by the constitutional stream and that they do not recognise the congress as it was meant to humiliate the BMD and it could not lawfully take the resolutions it took.
Said an insider, “We then advised the BMD that we will proceed in terms of the mandate and as we understand it. The BMD team then left the meeting.” Reached for comment BPP President, Motlatsi Molapisi claimed to be in the dark regarding the constitution submitted last week. Molapisi, who maintained that his party has never missed a UDC meeting, said the issue of the constitution was supposed to be finalised at a retreat which was supposed to be held on the 1st to the 3rd of June, but the retreat was never held.
Molapisi could not be drawn into discussing resolutions by the BCP and BNF—the two parties with the largest following within the contracting partners in the UDC.
What is clear now is that there are major differences between the political parties forming the UDC. Saleshando said this week that even though they will try to fix the UDC problems within a month, his party will start direct talks with the BNF forthwith to try to “reconfigure and rethink opposition cooperation.”“We are first going to focus on fixing the UDC, if we can’t fix the UDC, conference has resolved that we must engage the BNF on finding a new formula for 2019,” he said. The BCP is of the view that the opposition votes that the UDC hopes to attract in 2019 are concentrated around the BNF and BCP and thus the two parties have more to lose by not going into 2019 election as a single unit.
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.
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.
Tensions between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) contracting partners, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana National Front (BNF) over constituency allocation are at their zenith.
It is a marriage gone wrong for the once darlings of the coalition who are now at each other’s throats over two constituencies- Moshupa/Manyana and Mmopane/Lentsweletau. When constituencies were allocated BMD and BNF were to hold bilateral talks on the two constituencies and decide who gets what.
Both parties are fighting tooth and nail to claim the constituencies. In fact, BMD has since indicated that the two belong to it and the party has already announced its candidates for the 2019 general election. On the other hand, BNF would not allow that.
What broke the camel’s back was last week’s pronouncement by BMD on the constituencies.
BMD leadership has made it clear that there is nothing to negotiate about the constituencies because it is a closed matter.
BNF is said to now be preparing to unleash war on BMD regarding some of the constituencies. The BNF would also not allow BMD to try and humiliate it by making pronouncement on matters that are still internal. The BNF is said to also be planning to reclaim Gabane-Mmankgodi which is now under the watch of the BMD. BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa this week quashed claims by BMD.
“The BNF would like to correct the picture that is being created that a resolution has been reached regarding the impasse over the allocation of Moshupa-Manyana and Ntsweletau-Mmopane constituencies as the reports coming from the recent BMD press conference seems to suggest.
“While it is not our position to publicly discuss matters that are a subject of discussion with our partners, in the interest of ensuring that the nation and our members are not confused and fed with wrong information, we are compelled to set the record straight,” Mohwasa said.
Giving a brief history regarding the constituencies Mohwasa explained that after the completion of the Talks with BCP, the old UDC (which then comprised the BMD, BNF and the Botswana People’s Party) got 40 constituencies while the BCP got 17.
At a meeting held to divide the constituencies amongst the old UDC members, the BNF and BMD felt entitled to both Moshupa/Manyana and Ntsweletau/Mmopane, said Mohwasa who is also UDC Head of Communications. “A decision was then made that the allocation of these constituencies be a subject of bilateral (talks) between the two parties.
“It was however not possible to engage the BMD because of the leadership challenges it had then until just recently, which we are all aware of. Ourselves and the BMD hold two divergent and strong views regarding who should manage these constituencies on behalf of the UDC. For the BNF, at present, the two constituencies remain un-allocated.
“We believe a sober engagement between the two parties can assist resolve this matter and avoid the fermenting of tensions within the UDC, which regrettably is the case currently,” stated Mohwasa. He revealed that the holding of bi-laterals by parties within the UDC on matters of common concern will help strengthen unity.
Mohwasa maintained that in acknowledgement of the importance of bi-laterals, the BNF central committee at its most recent meeting, resolved to hold bi-laterals with all its partners within the UDC and the labour federations immediately after the forth-coming Annual Conference, to be held under the theme, “Ensuring BNF Unity Now and UDC Victory in 2019”.
“We would like to appeal to all our partners within the UDC to always engage each other meaningfully and avoid making solo and arbitrary decisions as this has the potential of destabilising the People’s project.
Dealing with our differences in such a manner can lead to others taking the same route, which could lead to anarchy. “We will not agree all the time, but what is important is how we handle our contradictions. The BNF calls upon its members to remain calm and avoid any acts that have the potential to tarnish the good image of the UDC. We remain hopeful that a lasting solution will be found,” said Mohwasa.
BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole maintained that there is no issue. According to Mangole, BNF has 22 constituencies as per the announcement by UDC leader Advocate Duma Boko. He indicated that should the disputed constituencies be given to BNF it would now mean they have 24 constituencies and BMD would have 11 constituencies.
“We have written to BNF stating that they have to make a formal request if they want us to give them the two constituencies just like what Botswana Congress Party did. Without that there is nothing to talk about because those constituencies are for BMD,” he said. Mangole wondered why the BNF would now also want to claim Gabane-Mankgodi and Gaborone Bonnington South.
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.