The People’s Liberation Movement (PLM), a group that has objectives similar and inspired by the Arab Spring protests in the Arab states of North Africa and the Middle East, has appealed a decision by the Department of Civil and National Registration not to be recognize it on because it did not fulfill the objectives of a political party.
In a letter addressed to the Registrar of Societies, Neo Lepang, the movement’s spokesperson, Onalenna Chabaya, said the PLM was denied recognition for the wrong reasons.
“The reasons for our appeal are such that we were denied recognition on wrong grounds of objectives in that they do not suit those of a political party. This was a mistake made by your office about us because we did not apply to be recognized as a political party,” he said.
He said the PLM’s objectives are those of a civil organization that acts as a pressure group and does advocacy for civil entities, groups, and minorities. To achieve its objectives, he said, the group will use methods of non-violence civil actions, including legal demonstrations, boycotts, petitions and rallies. Chabaya further argued that the PLM will not stand for elections, register with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) or campaign for elections, hence they feel that the refusal to register their organization on the basis of being a political party, which they are not, erodes on their freedom of conscience, speech and association.
“Nothing we envisage embarking on is unconstitutional nor does it put the tranquility and peace of our country in danger. It instead wishes to usher in socio, economic and political justice,” he said.
When rejecting the application for recognition by PML, Lepang had stated that registration was refused because the objectives of the proposed society do not suit those of a political party.
Information reaching The Telegraph indicates that the movement was recently the subject of intense discussion and scrutiny within the government enclave and intelligence community as its application for recognition was being assessed.
At one point the Department of Civil and National Registration asked the applicants to expand and clarify the movement’s objectives and indicate how it intended to execute its objectives.
Chabaya had also explained earlier that PML seeks to teach Batswana how to prevent the rise of dictatorships through non-violent action and to link up with and work with other similar movements internationally to advance their shared objectives.
Chabaya also blamed the country’s leadership for refusing to grant his movement recognition and said some of their members have received threats.
“From the continuous harassment of many people who associate themselves with the PLM, ladies included, it became clear earlier on that someone at the top didn’t want the movement to gain ground,” he said.