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UDC proposal divides BCP

Lucas faction says, BCP first, UDC last

A proposal by leading BCP members requesting for a resolution on joining the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has sown a rift at that party’s ongoing congress. Party leaders have backed the proposal, which calls on congress delegates to resolve on joining opposition coalition UDC in efforts to topple the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in the 2019 general elections.


BCP’s stability and unity will be put to test as the two warring factions vying for the control of the party’s governing organ differ greatly on which direction to pursue with regards to opposition cooperation in particularly.


With President Dumelang Saleshando enjoying the endorsement of both groups, the opposition cooperation issue will be a matter of a team which wins the support of the delegates in the ongoing congress.


The two factions are led by the outgoing party spokesperson Taolo Lucas and outgoing Secretary General Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang who are both vying for the position of Vice Presidency. Lucas, backed by the party youth league is not supportive of the cooperation model that would see BCP become part of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) while Gobotswang’s team with strong backing from Kentse Rammidi want BCP to resolve on joining UDC after the congress.


If Dr Gobotswang’s team wins the support of the delegates in Kanye, BCP may resolve to join UDC, while Lucas team’s victory would result in the party remaining solo as it did in the 2014 general elections.  
BCP could be faced with the most trying phase of its existence. It is the only party that has maintained unity and stability since its formation in 1999. In the last elections, the party suffered immensely, managing only three seats out of the 29 they had set as their target.


BCP’s dismissal performance has been attributed to the party’s snubbing the UDC, a coalition made up of three opposition parties; Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). UDC managed to win an unprecedented 17 seats in the process, taking the total number of opposition seats to 20.


Rammidi, who will be contesting for the position of Secretary General, has issued an ultimatum to withdraw from the race if the party does not resolve to join UDC during the ongoing party congress. “It will be a difficult task for me to defend the party in the event that the congress has resolved not to join UDC,” he said.


The former BDP Secretary General said the 2014 general elections should serve as a lesson and the situation should not be allowed to transpire again. “A combined opposition could have won 33 constituencies, which is enough to win power under the current electoral system,” he said.


Rammidi who defected to BCP in May 2012, barely a few months after joining BNF from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was the victim of split votes himself coming third in the parliamentary race for Kanye North, a constituency which he was defending.  Rammidi garnered 4030 votes, while Kwenantle Gaseitiswe of UDC got 5654, and the eventually winner, Patrick Ralotsia of BDP was voted by 5726 constituents.


Political analyst Lawrence Ookeditse has however stated that a decision on whether the congress resolves to join UDC or not will result in some being disgruntled. “You will always have individuals whose ambitions and delusions of grandeur make them think they are bigger than the party,” he stated. “Those you have in the BCP post congress will exist and possibly seek sympathy and the danger will however be in party ordinary members who may be discouraged to continue being active in politics as a result of whatever the decision of the congress.”


Ookeditse said BCP is a party which has managed over the years to be able to rally behind the decision of the leadership. “Whatever the congress pronounces will carry the day,” he contended. “BCP should come out with a decision because a vague statement on always wanting to work with others will not do, it will be nothing different from the status quo.”


Former party Vice President and outgoing Secretary General Dr Gobotswang has publicly endorsed Rammidi for the position of Secretary General. Dr Gobotswang also endorsed MP for Selebi Phikwe West and former youth league President Dithapelo Keorapetse for the position of Secretary for Information and Publicity. Other members of Dr Gobotswang’s lobby list include former party parliamentary candidate for Gaborone North Motsei Rapelana (Chairperson), Tshegofatso Raditlhokwa (Deputy Secretary General) and Dennis Alexander (Treasurer).


Meanwhile Lucas lobby list include him as Vice President, Dr Philip Mbulawa (Chairperson), Philip Monowe (Secretary General)Tshegofatso Raditlhokwa (Deputy Secretary General), Dr Ditiro Majadibodu (Publicity Secretary) and Dennis Alexander (Treasurer).

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Boko’s rivals plan new party

15th August 2022

Following their loss to the Duma Boko-led lobby in the Botswana National Front (BNF)’s national congress last month, some members of the party are reportedly considering forming a new political party.

According to members, the new party will be formed after they receive a tip-off that the BNF will do all it can to ensure that the aggrieved members do not participate in the 2024 national elections. This will reportedly done through a carefully orchestrated primary elections elimination campaign. 

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13 AUGUST 2022 Publication

12th August 2022

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DIS blasted for cruelty – UN report

26th July 2022
DIS BOSS: Magosi

Botswana has made improvements on preventing and ending arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but significant challenges remain in further developing and implementing a legal framework, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said at the end of a visit recently.

Head of the delegation, Elina Steinerte, appreciated the transparency of Botswana for opening her doors to them. Having had full and unimpeded access and visited 19 places of deprivation of liberty and confidentiality interviewing over 100 persons deprived of their liberty.

She mentioned “We commend Botswana for its openness in inviting the Working Group to conduct this visit which is the first visit of the Working Group to the Southern African region in over a decade. This is a further extension of the commitment to uphold international human rights obligations undertaken by Botswana through its ratification of international human rights treaties.”

Another good act Botswana has been praised for is the remission of sentences. Steinerte echoed that the Prisons Act grants remission of one third of the sentence to anyone who has been imprisoned for more than one month unless the person has been sentenced to life imprisonment or detained at the President’s Pleasure or if the remission would result in the discharge of any prisoner before serving a term of imprisonment of one month.

On the other side; The Group received testimonies about the police using excessive force, including beatings, electrocution, and suffocation of suspects to extract confessions. Of which when the suspects raised the matter with the magistrates, medical examinations would be ordered but often not carried out and the consideration of cases would proceed.

“The Group recall that any such treatment may amount to torture and ill-treatment absolutely prohibited in international law and also lead to arbitrary detention. Judicial authorities must ensure that the Government has met its obligation of demonstrating that confessions were given without coercion, including through any direct or indirect physical or undue psychological pressure. Judges should consider inadmissible any statement obtained through torture or ill-treatment and should order prompt and effective investigations into such allegations,” said Steinerte.

One of the group’s main concern was the DIS held suspects for over 48 hours for interviews. Established under the Intelligence and Security Service Act, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has powers to arrest with or without a warrant.

The group said the “DIS usually requests individuals to come in for an interview and has no powers to detain anyone beyond 48 hours; any overnight detention would take place in regular police stations.”

The Group was able to visit the DIS facilities in Sebele and received numerous testimonies from persons who have been taken there for interviewing, making it evident that individuals can be detained in the facility even if the detention does not last more than few hours.

Moreover, while arrest without a warrant is permissible only when there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, the evidence received indicates that arrests without a warrant are a rule rather than an exception, in contravention to article 9 of the Covenant.

Even short periods of detention constitute deprivation of liberty when a person is not free to leave at will and in all those instances when safeguards against arbitrary detention are violated, also such short periods may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

The group also learned of instances when persons were taken to DIS for interviewing without being given the possibility to notify their next of kin and that while individuals are allowed to consult their lawyers prior to being interviewed, lawyers are not allowed to be present during the interviews.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention mentioned they will continue engaging in the constructive dialogue with the Government of Botswana over the following months while they determine their final conclusions in relation to the country visit.

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