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.