Unhappy with failure to adopt new Constitution
Spokesperson insists that they are committed to UDC
Include us or we are out – BCP source
Coalition pangs and stuttering unity efforts are staring at Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) just a few days before some of the contracting partners go for decisive conferences which will be their first ones after the new UDC was launched in February this year.
Highly placed and intimate sources with party leadership have revealed that Botswana Congress Party (BCP), which is heading to Bobonong for their conference, might come back not a UDC member. BCP Publicity Secretary Dithapelo Keorapetse confirmed that BCP members are not happy at the snail pace of the process of finalising the new constitution document and filing it with the Registrar of Societies.
He said the process of accommodating the BCP into the UDC has not been concluded and as a party they are not happy and feel frustrated with the slow pace of finalising the document. “Our members feel they are not full members of the UDC without the Constitution stating that fact. Let it be known that we are fully committed to the UDC; we’ve held by-elections with huge successes. We are of the view that that there is no other viable alternative other than the UDC; that we should be in in 2019 to defeat the ruling party,” he said.
“If the new UDC constitution is not registered with the Registrar of Societies before our conference I don’t see the need for us to be still part of the UDC as technically and legally we are not members of the umbrella. We only have a Memorandum of Cooperation with them,” said one of the BCP leaders.
Although in the past the BCP was divided over their status within UDC, recent development especially the constituency allocations, which has strained relationship among the contracting partners, has united them and all believe it is time to leave the coalition. Keorapetse said BCP members have resolved that the party should join the UDC for the purpose of unseating the BDP and in the same resolution it stated unequivocally that the party shouldn’t be disbanded.
“The debate of leaving the UDC is a debate which hasn’t reached any structure of the BCP,” he said in response.
Cracks within the UDC started to show ahead of the Boipuso Hall ‘meeting’ as the leaders within the contradicting partners gave contradicting statements. BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa informed the media that it would be a decisive congress. The two leaders revealed that one of the issues to be address by the congress was to amend the constitution and give congress power to be the highest decision making body as the current UDC constitution places those powers on the National Executive Committee.
On the other hand, BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane and BNF President Advocate Duma Boko said that it was to be a consultative congress. Since the UDC relaunch, which followed the consultative congress at Boipuso Hall, the party leadership has not discussed some of the proposals from the delegates who called for other amendments in the new constitution.
Among the thorny issues that were discussed was that of having two vice presidents which some especially within the BCP and Botswana National Front (BNF) felt it causes confusion and was not in consonant with the country’s constitution. The BCP and BNF delegates wanted BCP President Dumelang Saleshando to be appointed the running mate for Duma Boko in the 2019 General Elections but BMD opposed that; even dismissing the Boipuso conference as just a consultative meeting which had no power to make any decisions or resolutions.
Another issue that does not sit well with BCP is the reluctance by their contracting partners to support their ongoing Electronic Voting Machines case against Government. Saleshando said he doesn’t know why their partners at UDC are not supporting them choosing to say that maybe is not their priority.
This will not be the first time that BCP dumped the Umbrella as they did that in 2011 due to differences over constituency allocations and resulted in the party performing badly in the 2014 General Elections.