The decision by the leadership of Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to submit a new Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constitution without the involvement of other partners is illegal and invalid, Advocate Sidney Pilane of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has said.
Pilane, who is the leader of BMD and also one of the two Vice Presidents of UDC, revealed on local radio station, Duma FM on Thursday that such a decision by his counterparts was done without the authority of the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC). The stand-off which is now playing itself in public, has thrown the UDC into turmoil, casting doubts on the future of the coalition ahead of 2019 general elections.
Contrasting remarks from the UDC leadership paints a picture of a life of a party crumbling through different phases as it seeks to protect its image before the 2019 elections. It has been revealed that UDC President, Duma Boko and the second vice president Dumelang Saleshando submitted a constitution to the registrar last week Friday, on the eve of the decisive party conferences.
In an apparently calculated move, BNF and BCP have resolved that the UDC repossesses the constituencies allocated to BMD for redistribution, except the two constituencies where the party is incumbent. Pilane has indicated that such resolutions have no practical relevance to the affairs of the UDC since they are not UDC resolution. Pilane said, UDC will stand by what has been agreed during the negotiations.
The BMD leader has stated that the decision to register a new constitution was improper and would be revised. BMD together with Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) have since written to the Register of Societies indicating that he reject the constitution.
“We are not aware of that constitution; we only heard about it, we don’t know about it. Gore e kwadilwe ke mang sir. We should have approved it as the UDC NEC and we as the BMD and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) wrote to the registrar telling them that we don’t recognise the constituion because we are not privy to the details and we were not part of that,” Pilane said.
The UDC has been using the old constitution which did not formally recognise BCP. This created anxiousness on the part of the BCP who were not sure as to whether they are in or out. The UDC has ever since February 24th resolved that they will craft another constitution that will recognize the BCP, this never materialized without a concrete reason advanced.
“In the new constitution they have written socking things. President is given power to expel member or to repossess constituencies form coalition partners for redistribution. This is not what was agreed, eo ga re e itse,” said Pilane. Pilane argued that the 2018 February purported congress, was just a consultative forum with no powers to alter was agreed during negotiations.
He also indicated that, as of now, BCP has not been formally admitted into the UDC, until a new constitution is submitted to the Register of Societies. The current constitution, registered in 2012 recognises only the founding members in BNF, BMD and BPP. Pilane and BPP leadership has presented another one to the registrar nullifying the one submitted by Boko and Saleshando last week.
From their conferences the two main opposition has hinted that failure by the UDC to adopt their resolutions, they will pursue plan B. The plan according to those in the know will see the two movements leaving the UDC and forming their own coalition possibly with the Alliance for Progressives (AP) in the next year’s elections. Pilane has warned them about the possible plan. “It would be unlawful and unconstitutional for any party to leave the UDC without proper procedure and we will seek court redress should any party do that,” he warned.
Moeti Mohwasa on Pilane’s remarks
That constitution was as a result of the UDC NEC meeting resolutions in which each party had two representatives. We are told at the constitution negotiations, BMD representatives raise objections but they were dealt with we forged ahead with it. That negotiation was a result of the February meeting decisions by the members.
For now we are focused on the UDC and we are not aware of anyone leaving the UDC because the 21 days ultimatum is yet to elapse. We are hopeful that sanity will prevail in the Umbrella and if anything comes up we will deal with it at the right platforms. Anything trying to weaken the UDC will be corrected. We want to retain all the constituencies given to UDC.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.