With elation and unsurpassed oration, Duma Boko might be leading the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) into next year’s General Elections.
However, it appears it could be another high noon within the Botswana National Front (BNF), an affiliate of UDC that Boko leads.
Two party loyalists have approached the High Court demanding that the BNF leader and his Publicity Secretary be removed from office because they have defied the party’s constitution.
The fresh application by Rex Seharane and Thomas Mhale will be heard by Judge David Newman’s court in a few months’ time. The two men are demanding that Boko be stripped of the party leadership because he has joined the Umbrella for Democratic Change.
The party activists contend Boko’s decision to allow the BNF to join an Umbrella party is some guile to send the party into oblivion.
According to the duo, the Tshabong Congress that eventually steered the BNF into cooperation with the Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP) was an illegal gathering as half the constituencies and delegates were not present.
The two also state that a central committee meeting that sanctioned a special congress in Mahalapye last year was also an illegal gathering in terms of the party constitution because it did not form a quorum. They claim the meeting was attended by only 8 members instead of the 18 as required by the party constitution.
The BNF is cited as the first respondent, while Boko and Mohwasa are cited as the second and third respondents, respectively.
The applicants want the court to appoint councilor and party’s vice president Same Bathobakae interim leader before a special congress is held.
“The character and nature of the 1st Respondent is such that it cannot join other organizations; if anything, other similar political organizations could join it not the other way round,” states Seharane in his filed affidavit.
Seharane says that the opposition cooperation talks collapsed in December 2011 and the subsequent new talks between the BNF and other remaining parties did not have the party’s blessings.
Boko is accused of trampling on the party constitution and even encouraging other members to turn a blind eye to its dictates. He is also being charged with being carefree and reckless with party matters.
“I am further advised by my attorney (from whose) advise I believe that the special congress convened in Mahalapye on the 5th May 2012 was an illegal gathering as it was convened in violation of the constitution of the 1st Respondent, particularly clause 12.3,” says Seharane.
“The Umbrella for Democratic Change was registered on the 23rd August 2012 as a new political party separate from the Botswana National Front (BNF) and in competition with the Botswana National Front for members and other things,” he states. “Since the 2nd respondent has joined the Umbrella for Democratic Change, which is a registered political party different from the Botswana National Front and other political parties, his membership of the Botswana National Front is terminated and, as such, the post of the presidency of the Botswana National Front is vacant and this court must declare it as such.”
The party stalwarts also protest that despite joining UDC, Boko continues to ‘conduct himself and hold himself up’ as BNF leader.
Seharane says that he has decided to refile the case after it was dismissed by the High Court last year for lack of urgency.
“Owing to the fact that the substantive case and complaint herein was never determined by court, we have since refilled the case in terms of the ordinary rules of the court,” says Seharane.