It is now official; Botswana Movement for Democracy virus has spread into the opposition coalition - Umbrella for Democratic Change whose leadership appears divided over the Orange Movement.
Contracting partners of the UDC- Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) this week Wednesday held a scheduled meeting at Oasis Hotel in Tlokweng to discuss among others, the problems afflicting their colleague, the BMD.
The BMD is currently paralysed after the party held parallel elective congresses in Bobonong where two different National Executive Committees were elected.
On Wednesday a fractured UDC executive committee met at Oasis to deliberate on the BMD issue. Botswana Guardian can safely confirm that BPP was not part of the meeting. Only the BCP and the BNF convened in the meeting that started at 10:30AM and was adjourned at 12:30PM.
The meeting was attended by among others BNF President Duma Boko and Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and UDC’s Treasurer Dennis Alexander and Taolo Lucas who is UDC’s additional member from the BCP.
According to the current UDC agreement, each party has been given one slot for an additional member to the UDC Executive Committee. It has since emerged that the BPP snubbed the meeting in support of the expelled BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe.
Gaolathe has been expelled together with his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi. According to sources, the Gaolathe faction met on Tuesday night in Gaborone at Falcon Crest and agreed with BPP to snub Wednesday’s UDC meeting.
The possibility of forming a new party was discussed at the aforesaid meeting. BPP, especially its leader Motlatsi Molapisi, is a known staunch supporter of Gaolathe. It is said that at the Tuesday meeting the Gaolathe-led faction promised to work with BPP once a new party is formed. The Gaolathe faction has left three options open; going to court; wait for UDC intervention or form a new party.
The majority agreed that they should wait for the outcome of the UDC leadership but if it does not favour them then a new party should be formed. The meeting came after Gaolathe BMD NEC addressed party members this past weekend. Out of the 12 addressed regions, nine (9) called for the formation of a new party, Botswana Guardian has established.
Speaking to Botswana Guardian over the phone after the meeting BPP President who is also UDC Chairman claimed ignorance of the meeting. “I am in Francistown as we speak and I know nothing about the meeting. I was never informed about the meeting. Mohwasa only called me this morning asking how far I am and I told him I know nothing about the meeting or even the agenda,” said the veteran politician.
He dismissed claims that they snubbed the meeting because they are in support of Gaolathe. He stated that the reason why there is even no one other than him from the BPP attending the meeting clearly shows that there was no communication to the BPP about the meeting. Molapisi has been vocal about the need for intervention by UDC leadership in the BMD mess.
UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa confirmed that BPP did not make it to the meeting. Mohwasa however said there could have been a misunderstanding of the invitations to the meeting.
“When I enquired they explained that they did not understand the context of the communication. They said they did not know if only presidents are to attend or all members of the executive should attend,” said Mohwasa.
The UDC spokesperson stated that the BMD matter formed part of the agenda but could not be dealt with because the BPP was not in attendance. He explained that BMD could not be part of the meeting because of the party’s current situation.
“So our next meeting would be held on the 12th of August in Francistown where the BMD matter would be discussed. The only thing we discussed about the BMD issue is that on top of receiving two reports from both groups, we have also received a letter from the other group from its Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale asking for UDC intervention. So what would be happening (is that) we would be writing to the other group to inform them about this development and ask for their input,” said Mohwasa adding that all the three parties will attend the Francistown meeting.
BMD-Gaolathe led NEC Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale could not be reached for comment at press time. Part of the problems that the UDC is facing is disagreements between BCP and BMD which date back to 2012. Under the current arrangement BMD is said to have been against BCP joining the UDC. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when the BCP was given the 17 constituencies and Vice Presidency of the UDC.
At one point when BPP wanted three of BCP’s constituencies it was alleged to be acting in cahoots with BMD with the aim that BPP would later hand them to BMD. BPP enjoyed the support of the BMD during the first Umbrella negotiations, which founded UDC in 2012. BMD at that time was said to have been considering having BPP under its wing through group membership.
Contrary to claims in opposition circles that leader of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Advocate Duma Boko is leaning towards his vice President Ndaba Gaolathe, there seems to be a shift.
There has been a belief that ever since the fracas at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) played out in the open its President Ndaba Gaolathe who has been at loggerheads with his National Executive Committee (NEC) could be enjoying the support of Boko.
Boko who is also the President of Botswana National Front (BNF) this week could not say it in many words or in specifics his disagreement with Gaolathe in dealing with the BMD mess. Reading into his message this week when addressing members of the media, Boko is a firm believer of defending the Constitution- be it of the country or an organisation.
The mess at BMD has resulted in the political movement having two NECs following two parallel elective congresses held in Bobonong over the President’s Holidays. Gaolathe leads one while Advocate Sidney Pilane leads the other. The two factions last week submitted their reports and list of NEC members to the UDC to be recognised.
Seized with the two reports, Advocate Boko said the UDC would now be dealing with the matter to resolve it. The Pilane led NEC has indicated that Gaolathe together with his Vice, Wynter Mmolotsi and others were suspended and subsequently expelled from the party in accordance with the party Constitution. At that time party Chairman who stated that he is the defender of the Constitution revealed that Gaolathe and company had violated the Constitution and no one is bigger than the BMD and its Constitution.
In contrast, Gaolathe and his team believed in having political engagement with the masses. They explained that their focus would be to address the members on the status of the party rather than to focus on the Constitution. Their argument was that the congress would deal with the differences within the party.After the Bobonong events many still believed the UDC leader could favour the Gaolathe led NEC in any form. Things came out clear this week when Boko indicated that leaders should always ensure that they are not involved in any entanglement. “This is because when those who are fighting have to come to you for solution, you would not be able to assist. You would not assist the situation because you are already conflicted,” said Advocate Boko.
He explained that what is happening at BMD once happened at BNF and he managed to defend the organisation within and even at the courts of law. “We have to look at what the law is saying before we consider the political side of the matter. We have to conduct ourselves in accordance with the Constitution. When we had problems at BNF I was pounding on the facts and the law.
“As a leader I have to not be involved in any faction. I have to stay clean because these things would come to me so I would have to not be aligned so that I would focus on facts. If you are in the thick of it then you cannot see things through. Do not descend into the arena of conflict. As a leader you have to separate feelings from what the constitutional dispensation says,” said Boko.
He explained that his assignment at the BMD would not be to dismember the organisation. He said his mission, as the BNF leader is to unite the opposition parties hence his firm belief that the UDC leadership would be able to put an end to the BMD current situation. Advocate Boko has defended his stance on the constitutional obligation saying he is not overrating the law.
“We are in bondage to the law even though we might not like it. The law governs everything about us. The law allows what can you do or not do. We are slaves of the law. The law is already over bearing on us so we must understand that. We are taking cognisance of the law and not overrating it,” he stated. While the Pilane-led faction believes in remaining faithful to the constitution their counterparts have maintained that the constitution is a piece of paper that can be tossed aside in favour of political action. It was further argued that in the build-up to the Bobonong congress, party Chairman Nehemiah Modubule was focusing on the constitution at the expense of the interests of BMD masses.
The BMD situation got out of hand after the youth congress that was held in Ramotswa in April this year which was said to be unlawful. The congress resulted in Gaolathe and others being suspended from the party and the suspended undertook meetings across the country dismissing their suspensions and pleading with party members to heavily punish Modubule and company by voting them out of office at the Bobonong congress. It was argued that it was wrong for NEC to suspend and expel the party president. Modubule maintained that they were following laid down party procedure.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko has said that the factional wars at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) are a true test for the party’s stability. Boko appealed to members of the UDC especially, to allow the BMD to resolve its issues without interference.
Boko, who was officially opening a Botswana Congress Party Youth League (BCPYL) Conference in Ramotswa, said he is convinced that the BMD would come out of this mess a united party. BMD is currently embroiled in factionalism. This saw some BMD youth converge in Ramotswa this past weekend to host an elective congress even though the party leadership announced that the congress has been postponed.
BMD National Working Committee met last week Tuesday to deliberate on the BMDYL congress and concluded that the congress must be postponed. Party National Executive Committee leads the BMD factions. Party President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi leads one faction while Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General Gilbert Mangole lead the other faction.
Gaolathe-Mmolotsi faction pushed for the congress while Modubule-Mangole faction was against the congress. Modubule-Mangole faction is supporting Kagelelo Kentse for the youth presidency while Gaolathe-Mmolotsi support Jacob Kelebeng. Gaolathe officially opened the weekend congress, which was said to be unlawful.
Only one faction voted at the congress as Kentse’s team did not attend the congress. When opening the BCPYL conference, which was meters away from the BMDYL congress, Boko said all the UDC affiliates have experienced what the BMD is going through. UDC is made up of BMD, BCP, Botswana National Front [BNF] and Botswana People Party [BPP].
Boko told delegates that when he became president of the BNF, the party was divided. He revealed that those who were not strong at the time fell off and the movement remained and emerged stronger. He said the BCP and the BPP have also experienced the same. “Give them time. Let them fight their own fight internally.
There is no disarray. It is an opportunity for degeneration and growth. It would have been disappointing if the BMD could have not gone through this stage. Those who are not strong will leave the BMD and join the BDP. I am calling on all UDC members not to debate the BMD issues but to give them space,” stated Boko. With only two months left the BMD has not yet decided where it will hold its elective congress in July where a new leadership will be elected.
It was something that needed to be done; at least before the formal opposition talks began. A genuine camaraderie between the leaders was needed to pave way for the formal opposition unity talks. After weeks of planning, postponements, off-course deviations and frustrations, the time was perfect for the retreat. The silly political season was in recess; everyone was preoccupied with the festive season; the social-media political pundits were on a break.
For the leaders of the country’s major opposition political parties, the holiday period offered an opportunity to ‘sneak out’ of the country to begin what is often known as ‘talks before talks’ in the political circles. Botswana Movement for Democratic Change’s leader Ndaba Gaolathe was in South Africa and so was the Botswana Congress Party’s leader Dumelang Saleshando. For the Botswana National Front and Umbrella for Democratic Change leader, Duma Boko, it was just a matter of few hours’ drive to this secret place. Motlatsi Molapise of the Botswana Peoples Party had delegated senior party official Richard Gudu. The leaders did not bring their spouses along.
The Protea Hotel Ranch Resort in Polokwane was a perfect getaway for the four leaders. And over the next three days, from December 28 to 31, it offered everything that Gaborone could not offer. It offered secrecy. Situated 25km south of Polokwane, the four-star hotel comprises 1000 hectares of pristine Limpopo province bush-veldt, according to the hotel’s website. The meeting was off the radar from curious journalists, anxious party members and snooping intelligence agents. The financier of the retreat was a Gaborone businessman sympathetic to the UDC project.
The ‘escape’ to Polokwane was well managed. The retreat did not leak, at least for a couple of months after the event. Not even senior party members of the parties involved were aware of the retreat. The men tasked with coordinating the retreat, the UDC’s spin doctor-in-chief Moeti Mohwasa and BCP’s presidential spokesperson Martin Dingake did not give away the game either. The secret meeting was well kept. The two men also attended the Polokwane retreat and worked together on the retreat’s programme though it was never followed to the letter, instead being interwoven with a more informal approach.
For the first time the leaders of the four parties learned to “hang out” with each other more informally, shared jokes and played sport. The attire was casual, and so was the language. It was however the game of table tennis that broke the ice between the four leaders and paved way for more formal talks the following day.At a press conference to announce the opposition deal, Saleshando and Boko referred to the Polokwane retreat as a defining moment for the opposition talks, albeit succinctly. Saleshando joked about how he emerged triumphant during a table tennis match between the four leaders. For his part, Boko conceded that as a former amateur footballer he had not played table tennis before and was handicapped during matches.
Only Saleshando and Gaolathe were familiar with the sport and took turns to coach other leaders. The table tennis matches dragged on for hours, at one point lasting the entire afternoon. The epic match was between Gaolathe and Saleshando. It was epic in the sense that the two men had played the sport before. Their match was highly contested. In the end Saleshando won. T
he leaders and their trusted aides, also watched English Premier League matches together in the hotel lounge. The leaders supported different EPL teams. For example, Duma Boko supports Manchester United, Ndaba is a Liverpool fan, while Saleshando is a Chelsea fan. Besides sporting activities, the leaders visited places such as the Mall of the North, Tzaneen and drove around the city of Polokwane.
After a day of sport, jokes and laughter, the leaders finally sat down on the 30th of December to agree on the principle of cooperation. The meetings were highly informal in nature and structure.
The underlying principle that the leadership adopted was to come together and work for the common good of Batswana. This principle defined the way forward. Boko directed and led the discussions. It was at the table and during the discussions that differences and even new alliances emerged. It was here that Boko and Saleshando found each other. The two agreed on several issues.
Gaolathe and Gudu were in some cases on the same corner, though not too distant from the overall conversation. For example, Gaolathe and Gudu initially wanted BCP to apply for the UDC membership, while Saleshando and Boko felt that the four parties should engage in direct unity negotiations. The other issue concerned the inclusion of the mediators. Boko and Saleshando were for self-mediation while Gaolathe and Gudu felt that outside mediators should be engaged. The participation of the retreat organisers, Mohwasa and Dingake was limited.
At the end, a ‘deal’ was reached, a foundation for the talks was laid. While the four leaders may not want to readily admit it, it was at the Polokwane retreat that the cooperation principle was agreed upon. Everything was sealed at the Polokwane retreat. The name UDC+ was initially proposed at the Polokwane retreat. The model of constituency allocation was also agreed. When the negotiation teams sat down to start formal negotiations they were ratifying what was agreed by the four leaders in Polokwane.
After three-day outing, Saleshando and Gaolathe left together in Saleshando’s car, while Boko left with his right-hand man Elliot Moshoke (who played no part in the talks). Richard Gudu and Mohwasa used the same car, while Dingake used his own car. This week Mohwasa confirmed the Polokwane meeting but stressed that the meeting was for the four leaders to lay the foundation for the talks noting that “Myself and Martin (Dingake) were merely there to facilitate and we didn’t take part in the discussions.”
President of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Duma Boko is missing in action at Parliament. Boko’s absence was glaringly conspicuous this week as Parliament debated the draft National Development Plan (NDP) 11 – by all means, an important document of national interest.
As per Parliament Standing Orders, Boko was scheduled to be the first to respond to the NDP11 draft on Tuesday this week but did not. Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Molatlhegi told Parliament that Boko, who is also President of Botswana National Front (BNF), was not in and would not be able to respond. He however indicated that Boko has complied with Standing Order 9.5, which directs him to inform the speaker of his absence and to designate one of his members to act on his behalf.
Thus, he had picked Ndaba Gaolathe to act as Leader of Opposition. Opposition MPs have expressed concern over Boko’s continued absence in Parliament. The MPs argue that this has over time weakened them as the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has had a field day against them in previous Parliament sittings.
An MP from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) - a contracting member of UDC said, “There are issues that have to be led by the leader of opposition as a senior member of the opposition rank. Now you will find that the BDP, led by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, always takes advantage of Boko’s absence. If he is absent on official duty it is understandable and not when it is for his private business”. Another MP who also preferred anonymity said they have tried to speak to Boko on several occasions but in vain. He also alleged that at times Boko would miss an opposition Parliamentary Caucus meeting, which is a forum where the opposition prepares itself to rally as a united block against the BDP MPs, especially cabinet.
The MP revealed that this is one of the reasons why BMD’s rank and file have been querying the decision to have BNF occupy the LOO seat instead of BMD which has more MPs in Parliament. The MP also stated that even though Boko left for Mauritius the following day (Wednesday) that cannot be used as an excuse not to attend Parliament. “Traditionally the expectation is that the leaders of opposition should be impactful in Parliament business. Their contributions must be frequent. If you look at Boko, his contribution is more or less on the same level as that of Moupo. He is not so much heard even when compared to his deputy Ndaba Gaolathe. We continue to attack President Ian Khama for not attending Parliament but our own leader is doing the same which could simply mean that even when we take power we would not be different from the current regime,” said another disillusioned opposition MP.
Boko could not be reached for comment as he is out of the country on Parliament business. BNF Information and Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa was also not available as his mobile phone rang unanswered. Observers argue that if opposition MPs are worried this could have a negative bearing on the cooperation talks between UDC and BCP. It is argued that this could lead to other parties requesting to have their leaders take the seat so as to increase the impact of the opposition. Political Analyst Anthony Morima said this could mean there is lack of leadership direction. He however pointed out that Boko has to be applauded for timeously and adequately responding to both SONA and budget speech.
“These debates are made public to the effect that their impact is made known that the leader of opposition was in-charge. The nation has to know the impact the leader of opposition has especially when dealing with critical issues like NDP11,” he stated. From Otsweletse Moupo to former BNF Vice President Olebile Gaborone to the current leader Boko, the party has been criticised for failing the seat, which is deemed crucial in the running of Parliament especially for the opposition MPs whose performance is expected to be anchored on the leader of opposition.
The position is a title traditionally held by the leader of the largest opposition party in the house; it is usually regarded as the voice of the united opposition. According to Parliament’s Standing Orders, the Leader of Opposition’s enjoys the same status as the Leader of House in relation to the business of the house. He or she is offered the opportunity to be the first to respond to the State of the Nation Address, Budget Speech or any other major government policy statement and is allowed to read his or her speech if he or she so desires. He or she serves as the second vice president of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Botswana Branch) and an executive member of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum - SADC(PF).
Some farmers whose cattle were slaughtered during the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Zone 6 have decided to drag government before the High Court due to unsatisfactory compensation.
The farmers’ bone of contention is that government decided to kill their uninfected beasts. Most of the applicants are commercial farmers who spent thousands of Pula in improving their breeds and regard the P1700 per beast compensation offered by government as peanuts. The disgruntled farmers who lost a herd of 1800 cattle are now demanding P9, 242 million for their cattle. Some farmers claim that they reared beasts which valued at P80 000 each.
The government had intended to give farmers around P3.6 million as opposed to P14 million being the market prize of the slaughtered cattle. Arguing the concerned farmers’ case in court, attorneys Duma Boko and Miriro Furusa said P1700 is inadequate to compensate the farmers. In his heads of arguments, Boko said that farmers have invested a lot but the government offers to give them peanuts in return. He argued that by killing farmers’ cattle government has affected many people’s source of living as they depended on their livestock for their livelihood.
He told the court that Presidential directive is not the law and that the government has to respect the constitution. “There is no provision in the Animal Diseases Control Act that directs the President and the Minister of Agriculture to direct the slaughter of the infected cattle,” Boko said. He said that those powers are only reserved for the Director of Veterinary Services according to the Constitution.
Furusa concurred with Boko’s sentiments saying that the cattle were not infected but they were in an infected area. “The Director is within his rights to declare an area infected. However his powers do not end there, he must go further and scientifically prove that animals are infected,” he said. In addition he said that just because an area is declared FMD does not mean all cattle in that particular area are infected. In response, Ndiye Balule of the Attorney General argued that Section 5 of Animal Disease Control Act states that any animal within an infected area should be isolated, slaughtered for purposes of disease control. He said that if the animal is in that locality it will be exposed to the virus. Balule opposed Boko’s insinuation that President Ian Khama is the one who ordered the slaughter of the cattle.
He also said that government has never refused to compensate, however government cannot meet the farmers’ demands as they are requesting the market price for the slaughtered beasts. According to Balule, a market price depreciates on account of numerous factors. He dismissed the fact that cattle should have been tested before being slaughtered. He said such an exercise of testing all animals was going to be extremely expensive for government.Justice Barnabas Nyamadzabo will deliver his ruling on the 3rd of March next year.
Botswana National Front (BNF) leader Duma Boko seems to be headed for another litmus test, this time over the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) membership card. The card is said to have divided the party and there are growing fears that may tear the BNF into factions.
BNF rank and file are worried that proper or adequate consultations was not done and the UDC membership is aimed at annihilating the movement (BNF) that many are very much attached to. The members are questioning the UDC application form, which talks about one’s previous party arguing that technically it renders one’s membership of either the BNF, BMD or BPP null and void.
Boko is widely credited for keeping BNF united- a party, which is synonymous with vicious factions. This would not be the first time for Boko who is also the President of UDC to fight a battle of this nature. He once fought a legal battle against some BNF activists who were against the use of BNF symbol in the UDC emblem.
Insiders within the BNF have informed Botswana Guardian that the UDC membership card has divided the BNF even at central committee level, as some members believe the masses were not taken on board on the matter. Ever since UDC Secretary General Ndaba Gaolathe issued a letter regarding the UDC card the BNF central committee is still yet to meet and deliberate on the matter. Some BNF members are of the opinion that the party should take its time to educate members on how things would work once they have the UDC membership cards.
“We do not argue that the congress as the supreme body of the party could have endorsed the UDC Constitution but the fact is that fellow comrades especially those who did not attend the Gantsi congress and those who cannot convincingly interpret legal instruments like the constitution should not be left behind.
The party leadership was supposed to embark on educational campaign about the UDC Constitution and its structures including this card,” said a source within the BNF Central Committee.Another member of the BNF said the issue has to be clarified to the membership because as the UDC contracting party they need the card.
“For instance, logically all the council and Parliamentary candidates contested under UDC so we need this card,” said the member. Currently the issue of the card is said to be a heated debate in the ongoing regional meetings that are being conducted by the party led by Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko, has attacked the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government of President Ian Khama accusing it of breeding future suicide bombers and extremists.
He was addressing a rally in Francistown recently. Boko complained that Khama’s “hallucinations of seeing every youth as a herdsman and Ipelegeng worker” does not go down well with most of the youth who know the truth about the type of leadership this country has. Boko added that suicide bombers and extremists are people who are usually tired of a government which does not care about the wellbeing and rights of its citizens and in the process lose hope and resort to terrorism as the only answer to their woes. He added that the current government should take care of the youth and regard them as the future torchbearers of this country.
“The founder of the Botswana National Front Dr Kenneth Koma once said that if children are not given proper education, they normally turn out to be problem children. Problem children are involved in worst case scenarios. The current education system is in shambles and thousands of youths are roaming the streets due to joblessness experienced by Botswana. I beg to differ with Ndaba Gaolathe who said that Botswana is a nation forgotten by its leaders. The leadership of this country is rude as it opts to deliberately forget what matters most to the lives of Batswana,” Boko said.
He attributed government’s indifference to lack of education amongst leaders of the ruling BDP starting with the first citizen whose educational background he said, is shrouded in mystery as to where and with whom he attended school. Boko said that if Botswana had an educational yard stick to select leadership like in countries like Zambia, most of the current leaders of BDP would not have qualified since most of them lack education. Botswana Congress Party stalwart Kentse Rammidi did not hide his displeasure at the way the government is misusing funds through “ridiculous initiatives”.
He told crowds at the launch of UDC council candidate for Phillip Matante East by-election Uyapo Nyeku that BDP is squandering money like the exposed past FIFA executive. “Kwa ga domkrag madi a jiwa jaaka ko FIFA mme mmang le mmang wa bone yo o a jeleng was go a busa (At BDP there is rampant monetary corruption scandals comparable to the past FIFA office bearers most of whom found themselves behind bars and facing the legal music),” Rammidi said. Former Member of Parliament Vain Mamela lashed out that the ‘rot’ at Botswana Railways where the newly introduced BR Express experienced mechanical hiccups during its maiden trip to Francistown, was indicative of the rot consuming the whole country.
Mamela dismissed Minister Tshenolo Mabeo as an actor who is only good at drama. “Mabeo is famous for acting in prominent local dramas including Thokolosi in which he became an instant hit. As for the new train, he has taken drama to the extreme by compromising a service which is dear to the hearts of most citizens. P280 million was used to purchase the new train and this is not a joke but they allegedly went on to buy a second hand train which is a clear sign that the Khama led government is taking Batswana for granted,” Mamela said.
He added that everything has collapsed in the country except for Ipelegeng and Chibuku. He accused BDP members for being cowards as they let Khama do as he pleases without any one of them lifting a finger to condemn the poor initiatives which include a lot of Ds. “A ‘D’ is not an appropriate letter as it signifies disaster”.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko has dismissed the Tribunal appointed to investigate the four suspended judges as a “mere formality,” to cover up President Ian Khama’s “corruption” since the judges will be “fired” anyway.
Flanked by his deputy, Ndaba Gaolathe, the UDC leader was addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Francistown. He said the suspension of the four judges is a clear sign of Khama’s corruption. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said explaining that a tribunal is to be held for the suspended judges. He added that the justice system is currently in crisis as the workload of the judges has to be shared among the remaining eight. Touching on the utility crisis currently besieging the country, Boko said the water crisis started a long time ago and has been marked by critical instances of corruption by individuals in the current government.
He defended his party’s decision to march and hand a petition to the president of the country over the current crisis saying they will not apologise for marching and will in fact continue to raise alarm even if it is through dance and song. He added that billions of pulas were spent on Morupule A yet it remains a cold power station. “Billions of pulas were pumped into the procurement of these power and water projects and when you are confronted with the mistakes of the past you come up to us and tell us you do not make it rain. Of course you don’t make it rain, you are not God,” said Boko when clarifying the reason why they queried the situation to President Ian Khama.
Khama was quoted as saying he is not a rainmaker when he commissioned the Masama well fields in the Kgatleng district on the same day of the UDC protest march. Boko’s lieutenant, Ndaba Gaolathe said the solution to the water and power crisis lies in acquiring a regulator for utilities in the country, which he said should have been done a long time ago. He added that for investors to find it appealing to invest in the country they must be assured that they will recoup their investments, but if there is no regulator then there is no telling what the future holds citing that nobody can readily tell what the price of water will be in the next year.
The current government is under investing in these vital resources, allocating only P3.5 billion to water and power when in actual fact the government should not be spending any less than P30 billion over a period of five years. Boko added that the bulk of the P54 billion-budget goes towards funding corruption and that the UDC demands that the government must account for the billions-worth of taxes.