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Home » News » General » Saleshando speaks on Pilane,UDC VP concern

Saleshando speaks on Pilane,UDC VP concern

Publishing Date : 27 November, 2017

Author : UTLWANANG GASENNELWE

Charming Vice President of opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change  (UDC) who doubles as leader of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando has explained that the disputed ex-President of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Advocate Sidney Pilane’ s political fate lies not with the UDC but rather the BMD.


He stressed that the BMD delegates at the next congress scheduled for December (next weekend) has the leeway to get rid of Pilane. While it is now clear that Saleshando is now the UDC VP, by virtue of his position as a BCP leader, the same cannot be said about BMD. The party has been engulfed with power struggles since the Gantsi Congress in 2015 leading to one group led by Ndaba Gaolathe bolting out to form Alliance for Progressives (AP).


Sidney Pilane, who led another group, has also thereafter relinquished his position in bid to contest in the coming congress as sanctioned by the mother body of UDC. This follows the disputed July congress which was swamped by stone hurling, dogs and knife stabbing of fellow BMD members resulting in the loss of a life.


When speaking to Weekend Post this week the UDC VP Saleshando admitted that there are some calls for Pilane’s rejection in UDC precisely because his detractors believe his “credibility” will dent the UDC rendering it “unsellable” to the electorates. It is said that Pilane became an adversary to some in the opposition circles the moment he provided legal services for the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General Isaac Kgosi.


Pilane has nevertheless defended himself saying that he provides legal representation to anyone in need whether from the DISS, or any organisation even from any political formation. The UDC leader Duma Boko nonetheless never spares the spy organization when he takes to the microphone and has previously even went on stating that they will “disband” DISS once they assume state power as it’s a “useless body.” According to Saleshando, the debatable Pilane is beyond their reach as UDC leadership and in addition they therefore cannot interfere or dictate to BMD to discard him if they so wish.


“If the perception that Pilane is not politically credible holds water, then it’s in the interest of the BMD members who will vote at the next congress to reject him accordingly,” Saleshando told Weekend Post. “It is for BMD stalwarts to vote him out of the presidency if they don’t want him at the UDC leadership,” the BCP leader said. He stressed that if the party fails to remove him at the individual party level, they will then continue with him as another UDC Vice President regardless of whether some believe he is not appealing to the electorates or not.


Warns AP that time is running out

The BCP President also warned the newly formed Alliance for Progressives (AP) that time is racing against them to join one opposition block which remains the only viable option to defeat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). “We call on AP that the ball is in their court as they are the only ones left outside UDC in the opposition,” he highlighted. He pointed out that if they decide to join UDC, there will be more discussions around the issue of constituencies and it can be resolved amicably to suit both parties’ needs.


“The issue of constituency allocation is a subject to negotiations, not only to BMD but others in the UDC as well. BMD must be realistic and should be able to relinquish those that are not practically winnable for those remaining at the BMD and allocate them to AP. We remain open and ready to undertake such exercise.” He added “we should do this with the recognition that AP was never part of the UDC talks, but if they decide to join us opportunities will be crafted.”


He continued to state that the AP should make sure they decide before the Primary elections commence or otherwise the bus will leave without them. Saleshando added that it has always been AP position that whoever does not join the UDC should be rejected at the polls and they have always articulated it very well and hope they will leave by their word. If AP continues and decides to go it alone, Saleshando said it will lead to opposition vote splits in which the main beneficiary, as has always been, will be the ruling BDP. Meanwhile, it is still unclear whether AP, if re-joins the UDC which chances are it will be comprising of Pilane of the BMD, whom they left the party as a reason, will be able to work with him again at the umbrella party.


On the recent UDC countrywide public rallies


Saleshando said that the recent countrywide public rallies were intended to give people re-assurances that “all is well” in the UDC despite the mass group departure that formed the AP though most of which were from the BMD. “As leaders we achieved more than we expected. The response is awesome and overwhelming. We could see and sense that people across the country are more than ready to vote in the coming 2019 General Elections,” the UDC VP insisted.


However Saleshando still has not yet found a constituency

Meanwhile, the former two time Gaborone Central legislator conceded that he is still hunting for a constituency to contest on during the 2019 General Elections. He said next year finding the constituency will be a priority. “Yes I have not yet found a constituency and I think this issue will be a priority next year. Some constituencies have already approached me. But most people only talk through informal engagements on the matter.”


He also took time to clarify that he has never expressed interest in contesting Maun East constituency which is in the hands of another BCP stalwart in Keretetse Kekgonegile as he performed exceptionally well in the last elections. Instead he said some party members made the calls for him to contest in the constituency and others also opposed and both are within their rights. In terms of Gaborone South, he also clarified that he was never approached to contest in the area. With regard to the BPP, he said they have less numbers in the UDC but makes a lot of noise.

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