•There is no BNF or BCP we are the UDC- Boko
The president of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko stayed out of the limelight for sometime after losing his constituency in the October general election.
The charismatic leader however later made a public appearance when briefing UDC MPs at parliament in a short meeting and then hibernated again.
The leader of the blue nation has now resurfaced once again this time in court where the UDC election petition case was being heard.
Boko –who lost his constituency to Annah Motlhagodi of the Botswana Democratic Party forms part of the 16 UDC members who have taken the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to court over what they have termed as fraudulent election full of irregularities.
The cases continue before Gaborone High court and Francistown high court
Speaking on the sidelines of the court case the charismatic leader explained his absence from the public space in a brief media interaction.
“I have been around, after the election when you now are faced with an enormous fraudulent outcome you need to focus on that, I am one person who does not speak unless I have something to say. I have been meeting witnesses and lining up petition papers to ensure they are properly filed. I have been hard at work, with a petition you have limited time to work with and so I have been busy,” he said
Dispelling rumors about his whereabouts Boko explained that, “When you are a leader in times of crisis you need to remain calm, I am always chilled in hell fire. I have been down so many times that down don’t bother me no more. “
Commenting on the petitions before court he said, “We need to expose this fraud now and for the future. If we let the BDP get away with this fraud in the coming 2024 elections they will do the same. The level of theft they carry out they have now taken into the scared space of election and have stolen them.”
He continued to say, “This is not about me, we must at some point have a commitment to something bigger than all of us and that is the democratic process of this country. We are faithful to democracy and we are loyal to peace and tranquility.”
On the question of alleged division within the UDC, the UDC leader said, “The UDC is united; united around two critical conditions, loyalty to democracy and democratic principles. There is no BNF and BCP. No! There is UDC, if you remember at the conference held at Baisago by the UDC there was a consideration of a merger of the parties in some shape or form so those will remain just as talks. The UDC is resilient.”
UDC managed to garner only 15 seats out of the 54 constituencies with the heaviest blow being the loss suffered by its leader, Boko to the ruling party.
BDP MPs slammed for snubbing civil society budget debate
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been castigated for ignoring an invitation by Civil Society to analyse and discuss the 2020/21 national budget.
This came to the fore at a consultative meeting hosted for Members of Parliament (MPs) by Civil Society to analyse the budget and determine whether it has the interests of children at heart.
While invitations were sent out to the Speaker of the National Assembly, party headquarters and MP’s offices, the turnout for the budget session was disappointing as only 10 opposition MPs from Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) attended, while the BDP and Alliance for Progressives (AP) were not represented.
The event was graced by Leader of Opposition and Botswana Congress Party President (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando, accompanied by MPs Taolo Lucas, Carter Hikuama, Goretetse Kekgonegile, Pono Moathodi, Motsamai Motsamai and Baratiwa Mathoothe of the BPF.
Various attendants who spoke at the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of BDP MPs, saying the ruling party showed neither interest nor respect for the Civil Society.
This is against a promise that President, Mokgweetsi Masisi made when he took power to work with unions, media and civil societies.
The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA spoke to some of those who attended the event to get their views.
BOCONGO CEO, Botho Seboko
It continues to disappoint how some things don’t change. How year in and year out, Parliament after Parliament we continue to lobby members of Parliament, particularly those in the ruling party to work with CEOs to better Botswana.
If one cannot make time to meet with community organisations on very important issues such as the subject today on Children’s rights to Health, Nutrition and proper education we continue to wonder what is keeping them at bay.
However, we hope to work together for Batswana. This parliament is more youthful so we are hoping for robust engagements.
Maun East MP Goretese Kekgonegile
They know very well that the budget lacks commitment to the priorities raised on the SONA last year, they just avoided embarrassment.
MPs from the BDP don’t respect Civil Society Organisations and don’t care about any relationship because they know very well that they have no money to splash on their campaign.
If it was the Private sector/ business community where there are opportunities for corruption deals to be hatched and cut they could have attended in large numbers.
Civil Societies should continue piling pressure on MPs if they want them to push their interests.
You should have influenced the outcome of the general elections by voting for a party that would push your interests by driving meaningful change.
But instead we find ourselves faced with all these problems.
Bobonong MP Taolo Lucas
If this invitation had been sent by the private sector there would have been many BDP MPs in attendance but because civil society organisations have nothing to give them, they won’t bother to attend their events.
BOSASNET Acting Director, Prisca Mokgadi
The BDP should have particularly attended the meeting as it is the party in power.
We expected them to attend this meeting so that they can get feedback and go and implement things at their respective ministries.
They are the party in power and they should be willing to get feedback and insight from Civil Society.
Children’s issues are very important and they must be taken seriously.
Government is talking about change of mindset and we want to see that coming from them.
Mokgadi however thanked the opposition MPs who showed commitment by attending.
Balopi undecided on SG position
Seretse may take Tsogwane head on
The Botswana Democratic Party’s Secretary General, Mpho Balopi is still undecided on whether to defend his seat as the ruling party’s SG or not. In an interview with this publication after the party’s monthly press conference at Tsholetsa House, Balopi said that he was still to decide on whether to take part in the coming party’s National Congress.
“I have not decided yet whether to contest for the SG position or not for now. “Said Minister Balopi.
Balopi’s statement follows allegations that the SG has been asked to not contest by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
There have been reports of fallout between the President and his SG. When asked to deny or confirm the allegations Balopi responded by stating that he was a BDP member in good standing.
“I am a member in good standing, a member who served only the BDP my entire life, who abides by the dictates of the constitution, the code of conduct, the rules and regulations,” he emphasized and went on to state highlight that he believes in the ideals and values of the BDP and is always willing to serve the party wherever and whenever he is required to do so.
The SG also confirmed to the media that the party had received the former National Campaign Manager, Tebelelo Seretse’s resignation from central committee without prejudice.
There have been allegations that Seretse resigned from the Central committee so that she can work on her campaign to challenge Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane for Chairperson Position but Balopi explained that Seretse had cited the need to focus on her businesses as the reason for her resignation.
Efforts to get Seretse to elaborate on the manner of business she wanted to focus on hit a snag, as she did not respond to messages sent to her phone.
What next for UDC?
Crushed by a technicality, analysts call for evaluation and new leader.
On Wednesday, a five-man bench at the Court of Appeal (CoA) crushed Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) hope of taking over government from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
The court dismissed, with costs, the Umbrella’s request to challenge the outcome of 14 constituencies at last year’s general elections. The CoA ruled that, according to the Constitution of Botswana, it does not have the jurisdiction to hear such petitions.
The UDC were forced to turn to the CoA after High Court threw out their original petition on the basis the coalition failed to comply with Electoral Petitions procedures.
In light of Wednesday’s ruling, The Voice staffer, DANIEL CHIDA spoke to three Political Analysts to get their views on where the UDC go from here.
PROFESSOR AGREEMENT JOTIA
What makes a distinction between a democracy and any form of government is the respect and honour of the rule of law.
In this case, argumentatively so, the UDC approached the Courts as per the provisions of our democratic process as enshrined within our Constitution and they were given a platform to vent the displeasure.
The Courts listened and ruled. However, whether the ruling is what they expected is a subject for another intellectual engagement.
Moving forward, I take it that the UDC has a mammoth task to go on a journey of self-introspection in terms of making a very critical analysis of what else could have gone wrong during the elections besides the claims of election rigging.
Fundamental to UDC’s critical examination should be on the leadership frontier: what did the leadership do right and where did they blunder? What else could have been done differently and by who?
Going forward, how does the UDC mend the political walls of Jericho? Whom should the UDC associate with going forward and which relationship should they bring to an end?
How do you turn the UDC into a political brand going into 2024?
What do the figures of those masses who voted for UDC mean to the leadership and Botswana’s political platform in general?
These are difficult, uncomfortable and tough questions which demand nothing but logic-driven and fair critical analysis.
All in all, our democracy has never been so challenged before and I guess this is why democracy as a principle of governance is beautiful.
We disagree, challenge and accommodate diversity of opinion.
Botswana is our country – let us move forward to socio-economic and political prosperity despite the fact that some are in grief. With God, our tomorrow will be better!
The UDC ‘s move of taking this matter to court is a sign of democracy on its own but what happened should be a wake up call for IEC in the future. It shows that they must improve and do better.
The UDC members were within their constitutional rights and the outcome shouldn’t be a blow to them but to introspect their movement.
UDC lost on a technicality and this could be based on how they interpreted law.
There are still 2024 elections and bye elections coming along the way.
Another point to be noted from the case is how the President, Mokgweetsi Masisi did not interfere.
When abroad, he made a statement that he was waiting for the outcome just like anybody else and he was prepared to accept the results.
This was a political matter that didn’t need the court to decide.
Batswana rejected UDC and the party should have evaluated the elections to see why Batswana chose the BDP over them.
However, the ruling has brought an end to the matter and it will be laid to rest.
They must take stock of themselves since there is 2024 coming.
When doing introspection, they must also look at their leadership, especially Boko who lead the movement twice but failed to bring the needed results.
Maybe it is time for the BNF to hand over to someone like Prince Dibeela who listens to people.