Following a meeting they held in Gaborone, representatives of Barata Phathi faction of the ruling BDP have come up with a set of resolutions that basically demand President Ian Khama to restore the party to the position immediately after the Kanye Congress where the faction emerged victorious.
The Barata Phathi meeting comes in the wake of suspensions of the faction’s key functionaries Botsalo Ntuane, Kabo Morwaeng, Sidney Pilane and Ndaba Gaolathe.
Effectively taking the fight to President Khama, the faction states that the President should rise above factions.
They demand that instead of Khama being active member of the factions he should become a force for unity.
Perhaps the most telling of the faction’s preparedness to go for broke is a demand that the banished former Secretary General Gomolemo Motswaledi be reinstated to his position.
They have also demanded a blanket amnesty for all sacked BDP members who had stood as independents in protest against the party’s electoral systems.
“The whole of the Central Committee elected by popular vote at the party Congress held in Kanye in July 2009 be unconditionally restored.”
They also say the three legal opinions that were sought by Motswaledi on behalf of the Central Committee prior to his suspension regarding the powers of the party President be discussed and resolved by the restored Central Committee.
Perhaps to show their long simmering displeasure regarding the appointment of party lawyers and the Executive Secretary, Barata Phathi have demanded a review of just how the two were appointed.
“The restored Central Committee should review the appointment of Collins Newman & Co. as the attorneys of the party and the extension of the employment contract of the incumbent Executive Secretary.”
Collins Newman & Co are the official legal advisors of the BDP while Batlang Serema is the Executive Secretary.
Barata Phathi say there is currently fear within the party that the vetting process will be employed in the next primary elections to target those who are viewed unsympathetic to the President’s views.
“To ensure that this fear is not realised, the only criteria to be employed in the vetting of proposing primary election candidates must be the requirements of the country’s Constitution and electoral laws.”
Barata Phathi have questioned some of President Khama’s right hand men to key positions in the public service and parastatal.
These include the appointment of former Minister Jacob Nkate to head BEDIA, a parastatal charged with coordinating Botswana’s export initiatives.
Barata Phathi also take a dim view of selective justice within the party, adding that there is a lot of persecution of party members perceived to hold views different from those held by the President.
“BDP Members of parliament and councilors must, ordinarily, be permitted to debate matters in accordance with their consciences in the national interest. Persuasion, rather than fiat must be the method by which the agreement of Members of Parliament and Councilors to certain positions taken by Government is obtained.”
Crucially, Barata Phathi have called on Government to speedily take steps against perpetrators of extra-judicial killings.
“The perpetrators of all judicial killings which have taken place since 1st April, 2008 must be brought to justice speedily and the families of the deceased persons must, to the degree justified in law, be compensated for their loss.”
Barata Phathi has called on law enforcement agencies to stay away from internal party politics.
With regard to the ongoing debate on declaration of assets, specifically with regard to allegations leveled against some cabinet ministers, Barata Phathi have called for a law to be in place before the end of the year.
“All allegations of conflict of interest or other acts of corruption in matters affecting tenders amongst other transactions, involving members of the executive, the legislature and the public service must be objectively investigated and promptly be acted upon.”
Barata Phathi have also called for an end to the arbitrary dismissal of public officers.
The same goes for the degrading manner in which such dismissals are conducted.
“Measures to restore the undoubted traditions of democracy in the conduct of the affairs of the party and of the State must, in consultation with political parties and civil society be decided and implemented.”
The unilateral decision by President Ian Khama to increase alcohol prices has not gone unchallenged.
They are demanding that the proposed increase in the alcohol levy be abandoned.
The faction’s committee, chaired by Ntuane, has proposed to hold another meeting in May.
Meanwhile, the Committee has assigned its activists to brief its members across the country on what transpired at their meeting as well as the conditions of the broader party.
Key members of the faction that attended include Members of Parliament Ntuane, Guma Moyo, Wynter Mmolotsi, Gabriel Mangole, Tawana Moremi, and Mmoloki Raletobana.