Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko has said the law is paramount in any institution and the constitution governs how political leaders conduct themselves.
Speaking at a Press Conference on Monday Boko rebuked the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and its leadership. He says real leaders look at circumstances and put aside their personal bias, look dispassionately and objectively at the issues at hand.
He said they should look at how the regulatory framework guides and regulates them and their conduct adding that they should remain loyal to that regulatory framework even if they do not like it. Boko said that it does not matter whether they are hated or liked.
“That’s how things work. We do not want leaders who take sides. As the President of the Botswana National Front (BNF) I know what the constitution of the party allows me to do and what it prohibits me to do and also as the President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change I know what the constitution of the Umbrella allows me to do and I am loyal to that framework,” said Boko.
Boko says there are certain instances where one has to separate their own personal preferences from what they have to do.
“Leaders do not impose personal preferences on things,” he said.
“When things happen, we look, we asses. If I depart from the regulatory framework then I’m skating on thin ice and it is extremely dangerous. I must understand these guiding principles, and they are legal by the way. They just happen to be,” Boko told the media on Monday.
Boko says a leader cannot go to the courts to say they have ignored the constitution because they wanted to achieve a certain goal. He said a leader goes to the courts to say they looked at the constitution and it allowed them to act in the manner they acted, otherwise their political actions are ill advised and extremely dangerous.
“Nothing more; nothing less. You have to act in accordance with the constitution. Whatever organisation, one cannot act outside the framework of the law. A constitution of any organisation is a contract. When you are a leader you enter into this contract and the contracts regulates you and you must conduct yourself in accordance with it,” said Boko.
He says when the Botswana National Front was embroiled in its internal issues the UDC was in existence and the BNF was properly within this coalition. It was their matter as the BNF and they handled it as the BNF internally.
“I have been down this road. I am seasoned and I know what I am doing. As they say in law, if you have the facts pound the facts, if you have the law pound the law if you have neither pound the table. I am not pounding any tables. I pound either facts or the law. As the BNF back then when we were embroiled in our internal differences, we solved them ourselves we did not need any outside to come and deal with our matters,” said Boko.
He says their partners in the UDC allowed them that space to deal with their own affairs and they resolved their matter and the outcome is now a matter of records.
“When such matters arise within one of the partners under the UDC it is not open for us as the UDC or the BNF to now invite ourselves in and take the arena shaping the outcome of what matter it might be,” he said.
He further stated that it is legally impermissible, politically improper and a serious miscalculation, a terrible error of judgement because those who are closer to the matter know how they should behave.
Boko said when one of the contracting partners fail that is when they can approach the UDC formally through correspondence not through gossip and rumours.
“Then that is when the UDC can say we are formally seized with that certain matter and as the UDC, they are now formally engaged. We act on reports given to us by each faction,” said Boko.
Touching on reports that intelligence organs have infiltrated opposition in an effort to derail UDC, Boko said this has been presented as something new while it was not.
“It should be known that intelligence services have been involved in opposition politics from way back, even before independence. It is nothing new. It shouldn’t come as a shock or surprise to anyone,” said Boko.
He is of the view that opposition leaders need to conduct themselves in a manner that anticipates these threats and address them.
“We will not walk into any trap, we will not act haphazardly and we will not use the involvement of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) as any excuse of our own indiscretions, we will not do that. It does not avail us at this point or any point of time to complain as if we were not aware about this involvement,” said Boko.