Some Botswana Congress Party (BCP) members want party president Dumelang Saleshando to shun the position of the Leader of the Opposition (LOO) should the party resolve not to quit the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Some members of the party who spoke to this publication on the sidelines of the just ended conference held in Mahalapye said they had put forward a string of resolutions that were to be adopted by delegates who attended the conference.
“We had unanimously agreed as delegates that should our demands be accepted by the UDC, our president should never become LOO again,” said a member. According to the concerned member, there is a growing perception among UDC contracting parties and members that BCP is only interested in leadership positions within the coalition.
“Our belief is that as a leader of the BCP, Saleshando should not show interest in becoming LOO again because some members of the UDC are of the opinion that we are only interested in leadership positions such as the above-mentioned one,” said the member. He added that, “What we demand from UDC is seeing the coalition being a democratic movement; therefore, we would like to demonstrate to Batswana who have suspicions about the moral standing of its leaders that we are not after leadership positions,” said a National Executive Committee (NEC) member.
Another NEC member who indicated that he supported the resolution to quit UDC and expel some suspended Members of Parliament said,” we have to demonstrate to some suspecting Batswana that as the BCP, we believe in putting the interests of our people ahead of our own personal interest.”
Another thing that allegedly fanned disgruntlement among some concerned members was the publicized meeting between UDC President Duma Boko and Saleshando. The meeting reportedly raised anger amongst some of BCP members. They said the meeting which was held ahead of the conference painted the party in a bad light as some of the issues that they wanted to discuss at the conference could have been compromised. They also questioned the purpose and the integrity of the meeting, asking why it had to be held when the crucial conference was a few days away.
But Saleshando, on the sideline of voting to adopt some resolutions, told this publication that he was not involved in influencing delegates in as far as political considerations that were to be placed before the conference were concerned.
Contacted for comment, BCP secretary general Goretetse Kekgonegile indicated that such recommendations or concerns by some members of his party were not deliberated on at the conference.
“It could have been some members just expressing their personal views. But some of the issues that you have raised were not officially discussed at the conference,” he told The Telegraph.
The BCP at its recent national conference held in Mahalapye resolved to give the UDC a six-month ultimatum to address some of its concerns or it “will have no choice but to quit UDC).
Meanwhile, when addressing members of the press, Kekgonegile revealed that some of the resolutions that were adopted included among others expulsion of five suspended members of Parliament and giving the UDC a six-month ultimatum to address UDC’s demands. He did not share what the demands in question entailed.