The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has met the October 18th deadline set by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to show course why they should not be suspended from the organisation. But in their response signed by the part secretary general, Gilbert Mangole, the BMD is defiant, hostile and promising “a fight to the bitter end.”
“We again place on record that the BMD does not accept the suspension conveyed by your letter as, not only is its purport unlawful, it is also entirely baseless,” reads the response from BMD. In the response the Sidney Pilane led party says “it raises technical grounds vitiating the decision to suspend and possibly expel the BMD from the UDC.”
Gilbert Mangole put forward a foundation to the response: “It is public knowledge that the decisions to suspend and expel were long made in informal bilateral meetings between the BCP and the BNF, and that the meetings past and the forthcoming meetings as well as correspondence entered into are mere formalities to give the appearance of some process, however illegal.”
Raising what he calls technical grounds, Mangole hinges into the UDC constitution which he says governs its affairs , he states that the founding members of the UDC are the BMD, the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana People’s Party (BPP). As for the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Mangole is expressly clear that they are not a member of the UDC. “The BCP sought membership of the UDC…by process of negotiation.
Terms of their entry into membership of the UDC, including a new constitution and the division of constituencies, were agreed subject to all four parties executing written Memorandum of Agreement. A Transitional Team on which all four parties were to have equal representation was charged to incorporate a few changes that had been made to the Constitution drafted by the Stream and to draft the Memorandum of agreement aforesaid,” writes Mangole.
According to Mangole, the BCP expressly refused to participate in the work of the Transitional Team, which proceeded without the BCP and prepared an agreement aforesaid. “Documentary proof of the BCP’s refusal and of the existence of the written Agreement we have in our possession and will employ in the event of what seems to be certain litigation that will follow any attempt by you to implement decisions hostile to the BMD which you have already taken,” he writes to Duma Boko, the President of the UDC.
Mangole further claims that BCP’s refusal to participate in the work of the Transitional Team, and to sign the Agreement aforesaid, made it impossible to follow the constitutional process and the process required by the Societies Act which would have resulted in the BCP becoming a member in law of the UDC. The BMD secretary general says his president, Pilane described the process in detail in a presentation he made to the first meeting of the informal “NEC” of the UDC which he attended following the Movement’s Bobonong Congress. “Accordingly, the BCP is not and has not, at any time, become a member of the UDC.”
Mangole and his colleagues at the BMD are of the view that “the BCP may in consequence, not attend any lawful meetings of the UDC in the future nor participate in any decisions that the UDC might take. It need hardly be mentioned that no decision made by the UDC in the past, including the decision to suspend the BMD from the UDC made on 25 September 2018, in the presence of representatives of the BCP and in which they participated is lawful.”
He writes, “The BCP’s presence and its participation by representation at the meeting of 25 September 2018 during which the decision to suspend the BMD was taken vitiates any and all decisions made at that meeting.” Mangole’s letter further indicates that the presence of the BCP by representation in any future meetings of the UDC and its participation in those meetings and decisions made thereat will vitiate those meetings and all the decisions they may take.
BMD CLAIMS SUPPORT FROM BPP
Further in their response the BMD states that the BPP was represented at the meeting of 25 September 2018 at which the decision to suspend the BMD, “and to require us to show cause, was made.” “The BPP inform us that they had not been invited to that meeting, nor had they noticed that it was intended to make decisions conveyed by your letter of suspension dated 26 September 2018 at the meeting.
The BPP further inform us that Otlaadisa Otlaadisa, who may have been present at the meeting of 25 September 2018, and who may participated in the decisions in that meeting made, including the decision to suspend the BMD and to require us to show cause, was not authorized to attend that meeting and had not been given authority to support those decisions on behalf of the BPP.” According to Mangole, the BPP maintains that they are opposed to all the decisions which were made at the meeting of 25th September 2018.
BMD QUESTIONS THE NEC COMPOSITION
The BMD is also questioning the structure that met on 25 September 2018 and took decisions adverse to the BMD. Mangole posits that the structure that met on that date is not a structure of the UDC by reason, inter alia, of its composition and the manner by which it came into existence. “That it is loosely described as the NEC of the UDC does not make it so as that is a matter of law.”
“Accordingly, the “NEC” that met and took the decisions it did on 25 September 2018, and may do so in future, is not a structure of the UDC and was not and is not authorized to make decisions for and of the UDC.” Mangole and his team further question the quorum of the “NEC”, “Even if the structure that met and made the decisions it did on 25 September 2018 was a lawful structure of the UDC, which it was not then and is not now and will, without more, not be in the future, the absence of the BMD and the BPP rendered the meeting of 25 September 2018 no-quorate.”
Therefore, Mangole writes, “the BMD was, on 25 September 2018 and remains, a member of the UDC and was and is entitled to be invited to and to participate in meetings of and to participate in decisions that the UDC makes.” He states that there is no lawful basis for not inviting the BMD to UDC meetings. “The deliberate decision to not invite the BMD to the meeting of 25 September 2018 would, were that meeting lawful, vitiate that meeting and the decisions it took.” The BMD is of the view that it was suspended without due process albeit there are no grounds for suspension because no evidence substantiating the accusations has been furnished “a written request notwithstanding and that makes it impossible to answer meaningfully.”
BMD DEFENDS PILANE
Mangole also takes time defending Sidney Pilane against the allegations levelled against him. He says the president of the BMD has not, at anytime and anywhere, made any divisive and or toxic/ pronouncements as alleged. “Our president has not made any pronouncements out of turn, nor has he done anything that required the sanction and authority of the UDC without such authority.”
“Our president has not painted the alleged or any other picture of the UDC, nor has he ever said or done anything adverse to the UDC,” writes Mangole. The BMD also deny charges that Pilane disparaged the UDC, and that he has been uncooperative. They further indicate that Pilane has not tarnished or put the name of the UDC into disrepute.
Mangole writes that the BMD has honoured all bilaterals requested of them. “We did with the BCP in respect of Maun West and Francistown West, and we did with the BPP as concerns Francistown West. The BNF has never asked us for a bilateral. What they have done was request us to meet with them to negotiate who, between the BMD and the BNF, should present parliamentary candidates in Moshupa-Manyana and Lentsweletau Mmopane constituencies.
This was not an invitation to hold a bilateral; it was one to re-open negotiations to divide constituencies when the process had long been concluded with those constituencies being allocated to the BMD. Only BCP had sought Lentsweletau Mmopane but yielded to the BMD.” Mangole says all accusations levelled against them as a party and those against their president are without substance.
In conclusion the BMD secretary general says, “The reasons for suspending the BMD, and contemplating its expulsion, are false and contrived, and are an unlawful stratagem to steal BMD constituencies.” He sayd the the BCP and the BNF July 2018 conferences both separately but conspiratorially resolved on unlawful strategies to steal BMD’s constituencies from it.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.