Monday, May 27, 2024

Response to the Public Relations Manager of the BDP

This is a short response to a Statement issued by the BDP Public Relations Manager. He is my friend, lefa a kwala e kare ga a nkitse. A tlhe botsala bo seka ba jewa ke dipolotiki! My response will be limited to matters of substance; the rest is beneath me.

Existence of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)
The Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD) is in existence. It is the name that we, who have founded that Movement, have chosen to associate and assemble under. The name has, in writing, been approved by the Registrar of Societies. Political parties, like sporting clubs and others are, in law, called voluntary associations. Our right to associate and assemble as a voluntary association is given, not even by the Constitution of the country, but by natural law. Even animals and plants have the right and do associate. Our country’s Constitution merely acknowledges, at Section 13, our existing right to freely associate and assemble for lawful purposes, a political formation being one such lawful purpose.

Our right to assemble and associate as a political formation is, therefore, not given to us by the Government, nor by the Societies Act. That Act merely seeks to regulate the modus of our assembly and association; it serves to put in place formalities for the sole purpose of minimizing the occasion for conflict; the formalities required fulfilled by the Act are a mechanism for structural certainty and conflict-resolution. Accordingly, BMD does exist as a voluntary association. Registration under the Societies Act is a formality. We submitted, a little under two weeks ago, the documents required lodged by the Registrar of Societies to enable her to register our Movement. The Movement otherwise exists. A proper reading of Sections 5, 6(1), 7(1)(g), and the proviso to Section 20, of the Act, inter alia, bear me out.

The role of the Registrar of Societies is, in the context of the registration of societies, limited to two functions. She approves the name of the proposed society. Her function is limited to ensuring that the name is not already in use by another society, does not troublingly resemble a one already in use, and that it does not offend against any existing legislation, such as the Protected Names Act, inter alia. A name or names that pass this test she must approve; she has no discretion in the matter. Similarly, she must register a society whose founding documents meet the formal requirements of the Act. She has no discretion in that matter either. She is obliged to register once the requirements of the Act are met. Regulation of societies by the Registrar is for the sole purpose of ensuring orderliness; it does not extend to the decision whether to register or not where the requirements of the Act have been complied with. The role of the Registrar is not to bring societies into existence by registering or exempting them, but to give her formal imprimatur to existing societies for purposes purely of regulation.

In order to apply for registration, a society must first be formed and come into existence; it cannot apply for registration before it comes into existence, otherwise the Registrar must, in terms of the provisions of Section 7(2)(g), refuse to register the society. Section 6(1) requires that a society should seek registration within 28 days of being formed. That registration should be sought within 28 days of being formed makes it clear that the society must first be formed, and application for registration should then follow. A proper reading of Sections 6(1) and 7(2)(g) make this all too plain. Indeed, the registration requirements of the Registrar include that the society must have a minimum membership of 10, and it must have an executive committee with office-bearers. A society cannot have members and an executive committee unless it exists. The society continues in existence even after it applies for and while awaiting registration.

Accordingly, the Botswana Movement For Democracy was formed, came into existence and, within 28 days of its formation, lodged with the Registrar documents seeking registration. The application for registration was lodged on 29 April 2010, a few days following approval of the name by the Registrar. On the Registrar’s guidelines, they endeavour to register societies within 14 days of the lodgement of the application. We are satisfied that we have complied with the requirements of the Act, and of the Registrar, and we expect BMD to be registered by Thursday 13 May 2010. We are grateful to the Registrar and to the Government for the prompt approval of the name for our Movement. We are unable to see that there is a reason for not registering our Movement within the 14 days. We look forward to receiving the Certificate of Registration. In the interim, BMD is, contrary to the claim by the BDP’s Public Relations Manager, in existence and operates. I urge that a little reading of the law prior to writing the Public Relations Manager of the BDP will find has its advantages.

The BMD is a political Movement founded by Barataphathi, formerly but no longer, a faction of the BDP. The Movement is soon to commence registration of members throughout the country, although some constituencies have already registered hundreds. The BDP need not worry that the people being registered are their members, for they are not. They are Barataphathi who are registering as members of their Movement which they have established. As members register, we collect their BDP membership cards. We will, in due course, deliver them to Tsholetsa in truckloads of drums. Barataphathi throughout the country consider themselves to be members of the BMD, and merely await the formality of registration as members. Thousand have made inquiries concerning what to do with BDP membership cards, and we have said that they should keep them until we advise them the course going forward. We would be happy to prove this to the BDP if they should want proof.

It is true that there are Barataphathi who remain within the BDP. We know that the true of them will, in not too long a time, come over to their Party. A few might remain, and anybody who remains in the BDP after the end of this year will have defected to the A-Team, and will cease to be a Morataphathi. The Public Relations Manager needs to know that borataphathi encapsulates certain beliefs, principles and mores, ones which once defined the BDP and were of its essence. Once the BDP took leave of its founding and characteristic values under the leadership of the A-Team (KFC-its bootlicking good!), Barataphathi adhered to them. Our determined resistance to the loss of the soul of the BDP failed because we were ranged against enormously powerful forces who had at their disposal patronage and state resources.

Having failed to save the BDP from the A-Team, Barataphathi moved on and ceased to be a faction of the BDP; borataphathi became a national rallying cry for all patriots. When we went to Kanye, borataphathi transcended a faction of the BDP, and had support outside the BDP and in opposition ranks. Today, there are members of the BCP and BNF, and numerous Batswana who are not affiliated to any political party, who call themselves Barataphathi, even as they remain members of their respective parties in the case of the former. I invite the Public Relations Manager of the BDP to anonymously interact with people at Bars, parties, weddings, funerals, indeed even in offices in Government and the private sector, anywhere in the country, and he will come to know that Barataphathi are no longer a faction of the BDP. Borataphathi has come to mean the pursuit of change in the best interests of the country; borataphathi has become a mission to rid this country, through democratic means, of the BDP government. All those who desire this end, and that is the substantial majority of the country, are Barataphathi, and call themselves so. I had the privilege, as part of this year’s May Day celebrations, of addressing the leadership of all the five Public Service Unions. Some 300 plus strong they were, and they all called themselves BarataUnion, and Barataphathi.

I wish to assure the nation that they need not fret; the BMD has been formed according to law, is in existence, and is in the process of being registered. We have complied with the requirements of the Act, and of the Registrar, and will comply with any reasonable others if she should ask us to. Nobody has authority to stop us registering your political party, and nobody will!

11.Mofago for the Public Relations Manager of the BDP! No my dear sir, Barataphathi are no longer a faction of the BDP! And my good friend, the BMD is in existence, and lives! And I think that it is broadly accepted that I am spokeperson for both. And so it shall continue to be!

Sidney Pilane
10 May 2010


Read this week's paper