The talks between the main opposition parties being Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) have finally been completed, Weekend Post can reveal. The parties will trade under the name UDC+.
An insider confirmed that following the close of the talks this week, Boko and Saleshando are expected to conduct a two-some press conference during the festive season. “It is probable that the briefing will be held between 17 December 2016 and 3 January 2017,” he said. The negotiations were commissioned on the 12th September 2016 at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng just in the outskirts of Gaborone and were initially planned to complete end of October this year but failed.
It appears the target was off the mark as negotiating partners engaged in un-ending heated discussions with every partner fighting from their corner. This led to the final target deadline being postponed to 17 December 2016. Impeccable sources told Weekend Post on Thursday that “this time the deadline has been achieved as the dialogues were summed up this week just before the official target (Saturday 17 December 2017).”
In the contentious talks, UDC was represented by its party members; Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). A high ranking source from the talks pointed out that “reports from the 3 streams from the negotiation teams have been adopted as they are – with others still having unresolved issues that are expected to be ironed out by both leaders of the negotiating partners that is president of UDC Duma Boko and BCP’s Dumelang Saleshando whom are yet to be officially briefed as well.”
“The two party leaders were not part of the cooperation negotiation teams but will make the final say on each and every stream emanating from the gatherings.” Thorny issues from the talks have been reported as the matter of Vice Presidents (VP). The parties were divided on the issue with others suggesting UDC+ to have two VPs while others felt it was unconstitutional particularly if the party was to win general elections and take over governance.
The two positions were earmarked for both Saleshando and BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe with Boko taking the presidency of the new party, UDC+. Indications suggest that a consensus is far from being reached to strike a deal for Saleshando and Gaolathe as far as the sole position of VP is concerned – a move which continuously creates acrimony between the BMD and the BCP.
Another issue still between the two parties (BCP and BMD) in the partnership was to do with Lentsweletau/Mmopane constituency. The constituency was won by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which was represented by Vincent Seretse. Seretse garnered 7 170 and was seconded by BCP’s Phagenyane Phage who had 3 150 votes while Major General Moeng Pheto who was then an Independent candidate, but now UDC member, got 3 120 to Godisang Mbwire of UDC’s 2 999.
It appears that BCP believes that the constituency should be allocated to them on the basis that they were on position 2 and therefore most popular after Domkrag (BDP). On the other side, UDC points out that although they came third they believe their results (UDC) should be added to that of the then independent candidate Moeng Pheto who is now a member of BMD of the UDC.
From the talks there was also an issue however that both parties did not reach a threshold of 30% of the total vote in the constituency that is needed and therefore the area remains open for more dialogue. According to the source, the two issues and any other will be resolved at leadership level by leaders of the UDC+.
It is understood that the interchanges at the talks were premised on three layers – which will now be passed to the UDC+ leaders – in which the first layer embraced streams which include one team being assigned to “address policy issues”. Still on the stream, the others were negotiating on the contentious subject of “distribution of constituencies” while the last one was intended to look at “matters of governance, the constitution and power sharing arrangements.”
The second layer on the talks incorporated the central negotiating body where fiery, heated and intense debates and exchanges were witnessed in the meetings. In addition, the third and last layer tackled questions of leadership of the new political collaboration formation particularly as to who becomes its president, VP and by extension, that of the country if it gains power in the impending 2019 General Elections which are expected to be hotly contested.
When reached for comment, BCP Publicity Secretary, Dithapelo Keorapetse was cagey with the details of the cooperation dialogues. He could only state that “Boko and Saleshando will make an announcement soon, great progress has been made and Batswana should remain hopeful that a better future lies ahead.” His counterpart at the UDC, Moeti Mohwasa also told this publication that they do not have anything at the moment “to share” preferring to keep everything confidential. “We will make announcement at the right time,” he said.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.
Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama).
Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.