Opposition regroups

SHARE   |   Sunday, 20 July 2014   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho
Opposition regroups

Opposition parties will hold conferences to evaluate their preparedness for the oncoming general elections slated for October this year. As it is tradition, political parties will hold their conferences over the President Day holidays, which start on Monday. However, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party has said it will not hold a conference or a congress, saying their focus is only on election campaigns.
On the other hand, it is important to note that the Umbrella for Democratic Change will hold its first ever congress in Serowe where all parties under the UDC will convene. What is of much interest is that although all the three parties-the Botswana National Front, Botswana Peoples Party and Botswana Movement for Democracy, will meet as the UDC, they will break up later to honour what is required of them by their respective constitutions and hold individual  sub-congresses still in Serowe.

UDC head of elections, Tapela Kgosikoma, said that the conference will commence with an official opening from the party president, Duma Boko, followed by a speech from the party’s Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi. “ Thereafter, friends of different parties that constitute the UDC will take to the stage and offer solidarity messages after which we will break and each party meet separately to discuss issues in their agendas,” Kgosikoma said.

He was speaking at a press conference in Gaborone recently. This will take place over the weekend. The move to meet separately according to Kgosikoma was specifically designed to suit each party’s constitutional requirement. The BNF he said is expecting a speech from its Secretary General, a report from the treasurer and other party portfolios. Reports from different regions are also expected. The Botswana Movement for Democracy and the Botswana Peoples Party are also expected to have similar arrangements in their proceedings.

After each party has wrapped up its business, the trio will then convene on Monday for a joint official closing in the morning. Later on during the day, the UDC will hold a mass launch for all the three Serowe constituencies’ candidates. The Serowe North Constituency will be represented by Ishmael Selebogo, while the Serowe West will have Rowland Gambule and Serowe South the UDC will launch former army brigadier, Iphemele Kgokgothwane.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) will on the other hand hold an extra-ordinary congress from July throughout the week up until the 22nd of July, 2014 at Ledumang Senior Secondary School in Gaborone.  The party will among other things deliberate on the constitutional amendments that were made in 2013.

Article 11 of the BCP draft constitution states that the national conference shall be the highest decision making body of the party and will be held annually in the month of July of every year or not later than October of the same year. It is further stated that the national conference will be responsible for the policy direction and control of the party. The national conference shall meet regularly once every year and also at such other time as it may be convened in be extraordinary session by the Central Committee in terms of the provisions of this constitution. The particular function of the conference is to debate, set the general direction of and formally adopt the policies of the party and every party member shall abide by the decisions of the Conference.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party will not hold any conference this upcoming holidays. This is according to BDP executive secretary, Sechele Sechele. He said that the party has no intention of holding a conference soon as they are busy preparing for the upcoming general elections. “If there is any change in our schedule, the party will inform all relevant stakeholders,” said Sechele.