The story of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) regarding the adoption of the new constitution that would formally usher in Botswana Congress Party (BCP) as a member hinged on a new narrative this week when the Botswana National Front (BNF) Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa said the process has been delayed by the team that has been crafting the new constitution.
Mohwasa, who is also the spokesperson of the UDC’s statement, was however in contrast with the initially stated position that the finalisation of the constitution was to rest with the 16 member National Executive Committee (NEC) between the 1st – 3rd June. Following the failure of the anticipated, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), president, Sidney Pilane issued a statement indicating that the scheduled retreat could not materialise because his counterpart, Duma Boko of the BNF was outside the country on parliamentary duty.
Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) leader Motlatsi Molapisi could not disclose to this publication factors that led to the failure of the retreat because in the build-up to the date because he was not informed. “To tell you the truth I do not know what happened with the retreat. What I know is that we had a retreat scheduled between the 1st-3rd of June, but nothing was communicated,” he said referring this publication to the party secretary general, who according to him was better placed to know the reason behind the failure of the retreat.
BPP Secretary General, Venture Galetshabiwe however indicated that the reason for the failure of retreat was premised on the verity that the UDC contracting partners had a wide range of activities that needed attention, including the Moshupa-Manyana parliamentary bye-election. “Part of the agenda of the retreat was to discuss the consolidation of the draft constitution that was negotiated by the streams as well the comments and amendments proposed by the delegates at the February Congress. It is a delicate matter that needs to be given attention,” said Galaetshabiwe.
BPP was represented by Thabani Peter and Parkie Pias at the negotiation table that were concluded in the beginning of 2017. Attorney Nelson Ramaotwana, who was part of the Botswana National Front negotiation team for the UDC constitution declined to comment on what has delayed the completion of the constitution, referring this publication to UDC spokesperson, Mohwasa.
BMD Chairperson, Nehemiah Modubule also insists that the retreat could not materialise because of the commitments of UDC president. According to Modubule, the UDC had been planning to meet on the 21st of June, but had to reschedule again because Boko will be on another assignment abroad. Mohwasa however expect the matter to be finalised before the BNF congress, delegates will be briefed on the matter.
WekendPost has established that when the talks began in 2016, all BCP and UDC negotiated as equal partners. Both UDC and BCP were represented by six people each. The UDC team was lead by Sidney Pilane while BCP was led by Martin Dingake. The task was of the constitution negotiation team was completed ahead of the announcement of the success of the talks in Febraury 2017.
Matters that arose from the the resultant February congress in earlier this year were to be dealt with by the leadership of the four parties at NEC level, with each party having four representative each. BCP had some reservation with its status within the coalition and wanted its arrival finalised, leading to the current stand-off.
WHY IS UDC ON MERRY-GO-ROUND ON CONSTITUTION MATTER?
Adoption of the new constitution as per the amendments of the Boipuso Congress will have some serious implication on the legitimacy of some portfolios within the party. The provision emanating from the congress provides that the UDC will have only one Vice President, a development which will effectively pit BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando against Pilane of BMD. Adoption of the new constitution as proposed by the party congress will mean, one of the party Vice President would be sacrificed, something which Pilane oppose bitterly.
Several sources who spoke to this publication believe that the proposed amendments will leave the BMD in the lurch given its reduced influence within the coalition. Some of the UDC resolutions that Pilane is against include the amendment of article 5.3 of the constitution in which there is a call to replace ‘may’ with ‘shall’ so that it becomes mandatory.
It was also resolved that article 5 should include suspension and termination of membership, as well as allow for voluntary termination and confer powers to suspend on the UDC NEC through simple majority and powers to expel to a special congress.â€¨â€¨The congress had also agreed that termination of membership, as stated in the old constitution should be incorporated into the new constitution; hence there should be no individual membership within the UDC.
Delegates agreed that membership to the UDC shall only be through party affiliation; they argued that there is no logic in individual membership outside political parties as the rights of those individuals are not articulated.â€¨â€¨The congress also agreed that the founding members should be mentioned in the constitution. In addition they resolved for that article 6.1 (f) Equitable should be replaced with proportional because the latter recognises the strength of the contracting parties. Delegates also adopted the principle of consensus and/or simple majority.
They also agreed that contracting parties should subscribe to the UDC and the amount of subscription should be moved to regulations and not specified in the constitution.â€¨â€¨Those who attended the congress as delegates also resolved that the NEC should decide if amount of contribution should be proportionate to membership base. There were also resolutions on article 7 to deal with Congress, extra ordinary congress, NEC and Policy forum. It was adopted that the structure will not have either women’s league or youth league. Delegates also agreed that the principle of proportionality should be used as opposed to 10 members per constituency and decision-making shall be by 2/3 majority or 50% of the constituency members.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, has said the persistent criticism on President Mokgweetsi Masisi regarding his business deals is unfair and sometimes misinformed as this has always been a norm with his predecessors.
Balopi who is also a Gaborone North legislator drew most of the comparisons to erstwhile leaders, Sir Ketumile Masire and Dr Festus Mogae. Balopi’s remarks are intended to douse the raging inferno from critics especially missiles from the opposition party members who are continuously critiquing Masisi’s business deals.
Cabinet and Parliament Finance and Estimates Committee have once again clashed over the proposed P3 billion supplementary budget requested by various ministries, just six months after the beginning of the financial year.
The Committee’s mandate among others is to suggest alternative procedures in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration. The consolidated supplementary budget reach P2.74 billion and was presented by Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED) technocrats to the Committee earlier this month.
The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) is said to be embarking on a vigorous restructuring in an attempt to rid of the many factions within the intelligence unit.
Ever since the arrival of Brigadier Peter Magosi as the Director General of the DIS, the intelligence unit has been beleaguered by factions between those loyal to Magosi and those loyal to his successor, Col Isaac Kgosi and previous administrations.