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Home » News » Politics » BCP MPs, Cllrs convert to UDC

BCP MPs, Cllrs convert to UDC

Publishing Date : 15 August, 2017

Author : AUBREY LUTE

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) meeting held this week has resolved that all Members of Parliament and Councilors of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) cross the floor to join the UDC with immediate effect. The President of the BCP, Dumelang Saleshando is expected to write a letter to the all constituencies informing them of the decision.


The decision to shift BCP MPs and Councilors was taken at a UDC meeting which was originally aimed at addressing the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) crisis but this could not happen after one of the contracting partners the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) absconded. Following this decision, the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) Youth League released a scathing statement in which they refer to BCP as a “third party” that does not belong to the UDC NEC.


Only matters that the BNF and the BCP could resolve conclusively at the meeting were addressed. BPP leader, Motlatsi Molapise supports Gaolathe and holds him in high regard, speculation is that he deliberately handicapped the UDC meeting. As per the UDC agreement, each party has been given one slot for an additional member to the UDC Executive Committee. BCP has two Members of Parliament, Dithapelo Keorapetse of Selibe Phikwe West and Samuel Rantuana of Ramotswa as well 57 councillors across the country.


Contracting partners of the UDC are Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Botswana Movement for Democracy and Botswana Congress Party (BCP). At the Wednesday meeting held at Oasis Hotel in Tlokweng to discuss among others, the problems afflicting the BMD, it was agreed that a follow up meeting be held in Francistown on August 12th. The Francistown meeting is expected to be the final test that could spell the direction of Botswana’s opposition politics. The Wednesday 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.


The BMD is currently divided and reconciliation has failed after the party held parallel elective congresses in Bobonong where two different National Executive Committees were elected. This has put the UDC, especially its leadership in a precarious situation with the supporters of the two BMD factions seeking legitimacy and endorsement by the UDC. A Nehemiah Modubule led BMD National Executive Committee laid charges that led to the expulsion of Gaolathe, his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi and others from the party. This is what led to a chaotic congress after Gaolathe and Co refused to appear before the Disciplinary committee and were expelled from the party. It is understood that the Gaolathe faction met on Tuesday night in Gaborone at Falcon Crest and agreed with BPP to snub Wednesday’s UDC meeting.
 
They also discussed the option of forming a new party but chose to wait for the UDC to deliberate on the matter and take a decision. The court route was also discussed but it is not favoured by many. The majority agreed that they should wait for the outcome of the UDC leadership hence the decision of the August 12th meeting could have ramifications. Meanwhile the UDC NEC has written a letter to the Sidney Pilane faction of the BMD informing them of the Ndaba Gaolathe led BMD’s demand for a fresh congress to resolve the impasse. In the said letter the Pilane faction has been asked to respond and state their position as far the demand is concerned.

BPP says BCP is not a UDC NEC member

On another subject the BPP has distanced itself from the UDC meeting that took place at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng. “The BPP is not aware of any legitimate nor a properly constituted meeting of the UDC which took place recently. A meeting between President Duma Boko and friends from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) cannot be taken to be an official meeting of the UDC executive committee. Therefore the meeting being referred to was not a meeting of the UDC executive committee.

The BCP is a third party and does not have rights to attend and participate in official meetings of the UDC executive committee. Those rights are conferred on members of the UDC who are in good standing. The membership of the BCP to the UDC has not been granted. It would not be granted until such time when all the disagreements and concerns registered during the negotiations have been resolved,” wrote the BPPYL President Takula Lenyatso.


According to Lenyatso, the meeting is said to have had intentions to discuss the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and its problems. He stated that discussing positions, issues and problems affecting members of the UDC is a sensitive matter and cannot be done in the presence of third parties, therefore the BPP will not participate in such discussion in the presence of the BCP and/or any other third party unless reasonable grounds can be advanced for that to be done. “The BPPYL and the BPP have not taken any well formed positions concerning issues within the BMD. It should be noted however that the BPP believes in a strict application of the law to maintain order and progress,” he wrote.

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