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New party is a regressive step – Saleshando

Leader of Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Dumelang Saleshando is “not amused” with the sudden departure of some members of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) who this week announced the formation of a new party, Alliance for Progressives saying “it is a regressive step.”

“It’s a regressive step. It’s a drawback for opposition in Botswana,” Saleshando pointed out to Weekend Post on Thursday when pouring his heart out following the exit of ex BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe and his associates. This was subsequent to a delivery of a verdict by UDC top politburo which the new AP members say it failed to mediate appropriately. While refusing to state the exact registration date of the new party, the AP top activists have admitted that the party was undergoing the clandestine registration while the mediation was ensuing on the other hand – in parallel.  

“We have long seen that UDC’s Boko was getting partial towards us owing to his association with Advocate Sidney Pilane both as lawyers at courts who often act for one another and also with both doing business with Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) – which with much glare points to a conflict of interest,” one MP told this publication. He stressed that their decision was pre-meditated and that it is the most difficult decision to make lest to say “worth it.” In the mediation exercise, the Gaolathe camp were calling for a clear re-run for members to decide whom they want to lead the BMD following the disputed congress held at Bobonong in July.  

However in the verdict, the UDC pronounced a power sharing deal that they said would eventually lead to a re-run; this, notwithstanding that the 2 camps; one by Gaolathe and the other by Pilane do not see eye to eye. According to Saleshando, who also formed part of the verdict after they mediated on the BMD impasse, if there is any party that would celebrate the decision of the formation of the new party AP then it is the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which will benefit most out of it. “The decision they took is not good for opposition but can only be good for BDP. Unless they want to help BDP win elections,” Saleshando insisted.

The BCP leader said he thinks that the decision was taken in haste. He told Weekend Post that he reads sinister moves: “I think comrades have been insincere. How come they came out of a verdict meeting with registration of certificate of the party? It shows they have long registered. Clearly they went to the mediation meeting while they had the party in hand.” The two time Gaborone Central law maker also observed that the talk of purple party has been around for some time even as the mediation was continuing.

“It demonstrates dishonesty and lack of faith. All the values they say they stand for, their conduct betrays those values. What integrity are they talking about if they undertook mediation on the other side while they continued with formation of the new party?” Saleshando fumed.

Saleshando also wants UDC to thwart launch of the new party

However Saleshando mentioned that he plans to lobby the UDC so that the former BMD members can be engaged further to hinder them from launching the new party. “My view is that it is not too late for the AP to reconsider the decision. In short we need to engage them. Between now and the launch, we can still get an agreement to avoid monumental blunder of forming another new party,” the ex Gaborone Central legislator told this publication.  

He emphasized that “we are too close to elections; they should choose whether they want to be with the rest of the opposition or the BDP. So for now, utmost priority for the UDC should be to make the AP come back to the UDC. It is worrying to defeat what people have tried to build all along.” According to Saleshando, he has listened to the 2 sides in the BMD impasse, and has realized that there are no fundamental differences except egos. “It’s a matter of egos, the 2 groups do not want to work together,” he stated.  

So I think, he said, they should still allow the proposal for UDC mediation to sink in while adding that if they think the verdict pronouncement needs improvement they can say so. “Kana we said the party should undertake power sharing deal – under supervision of UDC – and involve a professional mediator. That’s not a legal judgment; it is a solution to a political problem.” Saleshando warned that they should know that if you differ you engage further, and that you don’t walk away, you can’t walk away all the time, otherwise it would mean you will launch many parties on the way.

According to the BCP official who drew some lessons from 2014 when his party shunned opposition cooperation, he feared that if not engaged “the new party will result in vote split in 2019 General elections.” During this course of political activity, he said we understand that either the BCP or BNF out of good faith can take certain decisions that don’t help opposition course, and it’s for the other party to warn them on implications as they are doing to newly formed AP. According to Saleshando, the BCP has learnt the lesson of 1998 split from BNF and therefore understand the potential of AP departure from UDC. In 1999 after splitting from the BNF, the BCP performed dismally registering 4% of popular vote which was followed by 9% in 2004, then 16% in 2009 and recently 20% in 2014.

Boko and Saleshando later attacked new party

However, after the Weekend Post interview, Saleshando, together with Boko shot from the hip at a membership tour held at Civic Centre in Gaborone dismissing the new party AP. Saleshando implied that by forming the new party, Gaolathe and colleagues at AP were cry babies.  On the other hand, Boko was speaking in parables saying the new party has been formed and there is absolutely nothing that he can do as it has happened.

AP which is increasingly growing is expecting support from opposition Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Botswana National Front (BNF) Vice president Prince Dibeela, Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU). AP will compete with UDC and BDP at the 2019 General Elections. Meanwhile, a proponent of opposition cooperation, Boko’s legacy of uniting all the opposition parties to compete against BDP as one entity in 2019 general Elections is under threat following the entrance of a new player AP.  

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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