Sunday, February 5, 2023

UDC petitions Masisi over ‘state of democracy’

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has filed a petition about what it calls worrying developments “in our country since President Masisi came to power on 1st April 2018.”

The petition signed by UDC President Duma Boko states that these developments “are posing a serious threat to our democracy, peace and stability.”

Some of the threats that the petition states are: the failed transition from the Ian Khama Seretse Khama Presidency to the Masisi’s Presidency, the deepening and widespread poverty and inequalities in our society with associated high levels of unemployment especially among the youth.

Other threats the petition states are low wages, growing retrenchments of workers, high cost of living, intolerable levels of gender-based violence, corruption, lack of free and objective state media which have been turned into BDP’s propaganda tool, state managed harassment of citizens through a pseudo called Museveni. The list of threats as outlined by UDC also include infighting in the different branches of the security service; growing intolerance to opposition by the current government.

The UDC said, the threats also include “President’s recent alleged interference with the Judiciary, as reported by among others Justice Ketlogetswe and Kgosi Mosadi Seboko, noting further that these allegations, in fact, corroborate what the UDC raised post-2019 elections.

“That therefore, as one of the custodians and architects of our hard-earned democracy and peace, UDC henceforth present the following demands on behalf of Batswana for immediate action by President Masisi and his government,” the UDC said. The UDC called on President Masisi, his Ministers and other state apparatus “who are currently interfering with Judicial independence must stop forthwith”.

The opposition party demands that, “That the accusations made by such responsible citizens and organizations are very serious.” UDC also demands that, “That the government must immediately adopt all democratic processes of appointment of judges which involves extensive consultations, transparency and use of merit followed by in-built Parliamentary oversight in order to stop appointment of judges on the basis of other considerations rather than merit.”

“Given deepening poverty, spreading poverty in the context of high cost of living and the weak government’s capability to relieve especially the most vulnerable youth and poverty stricken people, that government should introduce unemployment allowance on trial basis for the next twelve months,” the UDC said.

It also demands that; “That given growing level of corruption, the government should set up a commission of inquiry into causes of corruption and how to address it through strong oversight institutions that report directly to Parliament.”

The UDC also called on government to set-up a research based temporary vehicle to thoroughly investigate cause of gender-based violence which will recommend institutionalized long term solutions to this problem beyond talking and blaming victor and victims using superficial solutions.

“UDC calls upon on President Masisi and his government to stop using state media to push BDP agenda,” the party said.

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