The negotiations between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are said to be heading for a deadlock due to a proposal on powers of the Presidency from Botswana Movement of Democracy (BMD). Information gathered by this publication has shown that BMD negotiation team - be led by the party National Chairperson Nehemiah Modubule and Deputy President Wynter Mmolotsi – is set to bring a proposal that is expected to raffle feathers within the alliance. The two BMD leaders, who don’t see eye to eye due to factional differences, will lead the BMD team that will be negotiating on drafting of the UDC constitution. The team reportedly has Advocate Sidney Pilane as the advisor. According to the BMD draft proposal, the party wants a liberal constitution in which the President of the party and subsequently of the country will not have immense executive power. The party allegedly prefers a constitution in which power rests with the whole National Executive Committee (NEC) which is similar to theirs. Their non-executive power president is said to have been motivated by what they experienced at their former party - Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) – where party president has more power.
The party also wants the NEC to have the power to recall the President in the event that they feel he is not serving the interests of the people. In the contrary the Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) presidents enjoy vast powers. On voting during the UDC congress, BMD is said to prefer block voting in which votes will be allocated on the party which has more Members of Parliament and not based on popular vote count. Currently BMD - though it contested the general elections under UDC banner – has nine Members of Parliament with BNF coming second with eight while Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has only two after the defection of Bagalatia Arone to the BDP. Should the block vote be accepted as proposed by BMD leadership they will dominate the UDC NEC. Currently UDC is led by BNF President Duma Boko and he is expected to lead it to the 2019 General Elections.Another inclusion in their proposal is that the allocation of constituencies be based on how the party performed in the 2014 General Elections. BMD has come with four teams to look at various aspects of the proposal will include the one for governance which is led by former speaker of the National Assembly Dr Margaret Nasha and Publicity Secretary Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
On policy strategy BMD team is led by Director for Policy Strategy Dr Tlamelo Mmatli and Dr Phenyo Butale – MP for Gaborone Central. BMD proposals do not sit well with the Party President Ndaba Gaolathe, who is UDC Secretary General. Some suggest this is the reason behind him asking for the postponement of the talks. Gaolathe is allegedly not comfortable with the proposals from his NEC, which is dominated by the Mangole/Modubule faction, as the faction is making the party ungovernable since he has no powers to deal with them. When postponing the talks Gaolathe told the negotiators that they will first be drilled on negotiation skills by an academic professor from the Institute of African Studies. This allegedly did not go well with BCP, which has in the past stated that their negotiating team is ready and has already been inducted on negotiations skills. In an interview BMD National chairperson Modubule said that they have not yet put down their proposals. “Currently we are having a weeklong workshop in which all the teams will discuss our proposals which we will present to the UDC before we meet the BCP negotiating team,” he said. Asked if they have suggested a liberal constitution which will empower the NEC rather the President, Modubule said that they have not yet reached that stage.