Wednesday, October 20, 2021

BCP’s place in Umbrella membership under spotlight

Botswana Congress Party’s membership of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has come into question amid preparations for a meeting that aims to resolve the dispute at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

It has emerged that the BCP is yet to sign a Memorandum of Agreement MoA that would render the party a bonafide member of the UDC.

As it is, the BCP is not represented inside the UDC.

It is also not yet clear if the BCP will be amenable to signing the said document.

Among other things, the MoA, prepared by the UDC transitional team, states that going into the 2019 General Elections, the UDC shall field a party president, Duma Boko who shall have a running mate, Ndaba Gaolathe.

Sunday Standard has learnt that the Botswana National Front (BNF) Central Committee is torn in the middle between, with a majority of them pitting their weight behind Gaolathe.

Another clause of the MoA still to be signed by the BCP states that the UDC shall have a first Vice President and a second Vice President.

The document states that Gaolathe shall be the first Vice President.

This is likely to fuel divisions within the upper echelons of both the UDC and the BNF where there is a groundswell of suspicions that the UDC leader, Boko has been rooting for BCP leader, Dumelang Saleshando against Gaolathe.

Among others, the current UDC national executive committee includes Boko (President), Motlatsi Molapisi (chairman), Emang Maphanyane, Lebang Mpotokwane, Prince Dibeela and Moeti Mohwasa.

BNF Vice President Prince Dibeela confirmed on Friday that the BCP was yet to sign the MoA to become an official member of UDC.

“We are still working on the Constitution and the Memorandum of Agreement. In principle they have agreed to join the UDC. What was left was just a formality,” said Dibeela.

He said the plan to convene a new NEC was derailed by the contentious outcome of the BMD congress that was held in Bobonong which resulted in two National Executive Committees (NECs).

Gaolathe has been the second in command and also Secretary General of the UDC.

BMD infighting has meant that the formal joining by BCP has now been relegated to the backburners.

Sunday Standard has learnt that there are some inside the UDC who are against the BCP sitting in UDC meeting that will mediate the BMD dispute.

These are the people who have reason to suspect that other than not being a UDC member, some BCP activists were behind the fuelling of BMD disputes.

“Our plan has shifted from convening the new NEC and have the BCP sign a Memorandum of Agreement to officially join the UDC to focusing on dealing with contentious issues within the BMD,” said Dibeela.

He said the UDC had not anticipated that the BMD would come out of the Bobonong Congress more divided than before.

“As we speak now we are in limbo. We can’t convene the new NEC or deal with the matter of having the BCP sign the agreement to join the UDC. We have to deal with BMD issues first,” said Dibeela.

Another member of the UDC who spoke on condition of anonymity went further to say as things stand, BCP Members of Parliament are not UDC Members of Parliament.

“The BCP leader (Dumelang Saleshando) is not a member of the UDC National Executive Committee. He has never been. When UDC leaders hold a formal meeting, he is not invited,” he said.

Dibeela called for calm among supporters of UDC saying challenges they are going through should be expected for such a large project.

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