With oppostion coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) having lost out the race in election petitions, University of Botswana political science lecturer Mokaloba Mokaloba said there is a need for the party to hold a congress to evaluate and map a way forward to 2024.
On Wednesday a panel of five judges led by Court of Appeal Judge President, Justice Ian Kirby delivered a debilitating blow, dashing the hopes of UDC masses when they ruled that the court does not have jurisdiction to entertain election appeals. Effectively, the decision brought finality the issue of 2019 election results petitions brought by some UDC candidates.
Making a ruling on an application by lawyers representing the Independent Electoral Cpommission (IEC) and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), that according to statutes governing the process of handling election petitions the CoA cannot entertain an appeal on a matter already decided by the High Court, Kirby ordered that the appeals be struck out with costs including the costs of the counsel. Mokaloba says UDC should go back to the drawing board insisting that the 2019 elections perfomance and outcomes of courts need to be addressed accordingly without any failure.
“Next 2024 elections are still far but the best time for UDC to introspect itself is now. The three coalition individual parties should hold congresses to make resolutions for UDC sustainabilty and those congresses outcomes shall pave way for UDC congress,” he said.
According to the UB don, the UDC congress should be an elective one whereby members will elect the leadership including President that will carry the party to 2024 general elections.
He said an elective congress will accord delegates an opportunity to elect new leader in organised manner so as to minimise power struggle issues that could further destabilise the party.
The congress, he said should be elective if UDC is keen on maintaining coalition instead of total merger of parties that are under currently forming UDC being BNF,BCP and the BPP. “Whether Boko or Saleshando should be a president of UDC this will be up to delegates to decide at the elective congress. The leadership one is another elephant in the room,” he said.
Botswana Congress Party Youth League (BCPYL) recently caused a stir when it issued a statement calling out for party president Advocate Duma Boko to resign immediately. The BCP youth league’s contention has been that Boko failed the coalition in the 2019. elections as UDC managed to attain only 15 seats with BCP getting 11 and BNF 4 seats.
BCPYL part of their plea for Boko to resign was that he failed to resolve the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) leadership saga that resulted in BMD splinter party.
Alliance for Progressives ( AP) led by Ndaba Gaolatlhe was formed after Ndaba’s led faction disagreed with the one led by Sydney Pilane after ugly Bobonong 2017 elective congress. Asked on what has contributed towards UDC not performing well in previous elections, Mokaloba indicated that UDC spent too much at court dealing with BMD expulsion case.
However, BCP National Executive Committee ( NEC) rebuked the youth league for calling for UDC leadership change as BNF members had suspected that mother party was behind plot.
Ghanzi North parliamentary candidate Noah Salakae put a nail on the UDC coffin when he decided to withdraw his petition before high court citing political reasons behind giving up.
Salakae brought Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) claiming irregularities prevailed at Ghanzi North as he lost to John Thiite of the BDP. Businessman Thiite pulled a shocker to the outspoken Salakae garnering 4 717 votes in a closely contested tie with Salakae garnering 4 893 votes marking end Salakae’s one term. UDC was challenging 2019 election parliamentary results in 13 constitutincies countrywide.