Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BDP faces another legal battle

Botswana Democratic Party Central Committee’s MPs, Guma Moyo, Wynter Mmolotsi and Kabo Morwaeng, resigned from the party’s inner circle this week in protest against President Khama’s unilateral decision that suspended BDP Secretary General Gomolemo Motswaledi and him being made to pay the bill for party legal opinions obtained from advocates Peter Collins and Sidney Pilane.

While he was still BDP secretary general, Motswaledi made a request for a legal opinion from the law firms Collins Newman and Company, Collins Legal Consultants and Sidney Pilane Legal Consultants seeking clarity on Khama’s powers in terms of the BDP constitution.

The decision was supported by the party central committee. When the BDP central committee met last Monday, the election of Thato Kwerepe as the party’s secretary general was not the only issue that irked party members aligned to the Barata-Phathi faction.
It is understood that Khama unilaterally decided that the BDP would not pay the legal bills from Collins Legal Consultants and Pilane Consultants. This comes after one of the firms, Collins Legal Consultants, tendered its fee note to the party. Both law firms had suggested that Khama does not have the power to take unilateral decisions. The two law firms are expected to take the BDP to court demanding their payment.

Sources inside the party central committee told The Sunday Standard that when some members of the central committee tried to discuss the issue, Khama allegedly handed a verdict that the issue was not up for debate saying that Motswaledi had solicited the opinions to wage a war against him and was the one to incur the costs for the legal opinions.

The general feeling among Barata-Phathi is that the central committee is a one man affair. It is understood that many believe that the central committee exists only in name.

“They do not want to indorse a decision that they are not party to,” said the sources who spoke anonymously.
It is understood that the trio feels that there is no democracy within the ruling party’s central committee because the structure only exists to rubberstamp Khama’s decisions.

The trio was also peeved by Khama’s announcement at the central committee meeting that he had appointed a team of three to investigate allegations that some BDP MPs had planned to team up with the opposition to block Khama’s appointment of specially elected MPs by parliament.

The Sunday Standard can reveal that during the past central committee meeting, Khama did not reveal the identity of the investigators.

The appointment of a secret investigating team to probe party leaders is believed to have irked the trio. Some Central Committee Members claim that the investigators are from the Department of Intelligence Services. BDP executive secretary Batlang Serema described as outrageous lies reports that Khama had unilaterally decided that the law firm should not be paid.

“That is nonsense, it’s a lie,” he said. He said that the decision was a central committee resolution taken pursuant to the party leadership’s meeting.

He said he could not reveal the team appointed to probe MPs stating that the issue was still internal.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.