Wednesday, January 19, 2022

BCP launches Democracy Alert No 3

The president of the opposition Botswana Congress Party, Dumelang Saleshando, will today (Tuesday) hold a press conference in Gaborone, at which he will unveil the party’s third Democracy Alert publication.

The book is titled “A chronicle of the Intransigence of BDP Government as led by President Khama against Public Servants.”

BCP’s Publicity Secretary, Taolo Lucas, said the book is an account of events as they unfolded in the recent public sector strike, which lasted for almost two months.

On the same day, the BCP will also sell videos of the public sector strike and footage of a rally that was hosted for the workers by Saleshando, Botswana National Front President Duma Boko and the Botswana Movement for Democracy President, Gomolemo Motswaledi.

The booklet will be distributed to the members of the public freely on the day.

The recent public sector strike provided political fodder for the opposition and pitted government against striking public servants. At the height of the strike, the opposition declared solidarity with the workers while trade union leaders announced that they will urge their over 90 000 strong members to vote for parties that have the interests of the workers at heart.

“The press conference is particularly critical in that it comes after AFRICOM published its finding about Botswana’s democracy and a week after Julius Malema made remarks about Botswana that have attracted widespread attention both in Botswana and South Africa. Hon Saleshando will also answer questions related to private members bills on Freedom of Information and on HIV/AIDS and employment,” read a BCP communiqu├®.

BCP Democracy Alert No 3 will focus on the public sector strike and its causes, and also highlight the plight of workers who have been dismissed from work and those who are being victimised after the strike.

The last publication, Democracy Alert No2, was released just before the 2009 general elections, under the title “Erosion of Democracy, Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law.”

Then BCP president Gilson Saleshando accused the ruling party and its allies of launching a systematic onslaught on Botswana’s democracy.

While he conceded that Botswana’s elections are relatively fair, Saleshando Snr argued that the political playing field is not level because the ruling Botswana Democratic Party enjoys more wealth and resources than other parties.

”Botswana violates key attributes of the SADC protocol on free and fair elections, among them equitable access to public media and funding of political parties,” said Saleshando.

He also condemned government for trying to stifle the private media with the draconian Media Practitioners Act. He also accused government of turning the state media into a public relations organ of the BDP.

“President Khama has militarized the public service, and he has personalized the presidency by making unilateral decisions on matters of national interest. Our government is becoming increasingly secretive and unaccountable,” said Saleshando.

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