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Saleshando salutes Boko

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Condemns BURS and DISS for ‘sickening’ treatment

The Leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando has applauded the President of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko for his efforts during the 2019 general election campaigns.

Responding to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Wednesday, Saleshando praised Boko for remaining resolute and committed despite ‘sickening’ treatment from the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and Directorate of Intelligence and Services (DISS)

“For this, I want to salute and pay tribute to him,” stated Saleshando, his comments met with deafening applause from opposition Members of Parliament.

“He did his best to serve his people and his organisation well under difficult and harsh conditions,” continued the Maun West MP.

Saleshando noted that BURS’ searches were always ‘well timed and calculated’, designed to frustrate the UDC campaigns. He added that to date, BURS has not stated what it was searching for in the aircrafts utilised by Boko to travel to UDC rallies.

“If indeed Duma Boko was for a period of over two years in breach of our tax laws, why was he never charged and brought before the courts of law? BURS were never on a mission to collect unpaid taxes, they were on a political mission to obstruct and frustrate Boko. At times, BURS, alongside DISS, targeted Boko’s family in his absence,” blasted the Botswana National Front (BNF) President, bristling with anger as he spoke.

Saleshando went on to describe the revenue service as overzealous in frustrating the UDC’s campaigning.

“We are not contesting the mandate of the BURS in collecting taxes from all who have to pay, including those in the opposition and its leadership. Where political leaders fail to comply with the tax laws, BURS have a right to insist on compliance.”

However, he maintained the ‘unending searches’ meted out on the UDC President in the run up to the general elections were ‘clearly not about ensuring compliance’.

Saleshando further criticized how the elections were conducted, claiming the DIS and BURS influenced the outcome. He insisted the elections could not be described as having exhibited political maturity, tolerance, and respect for one another, peace and transparency.

“For the first time in the history of our country, key state institutions, namely the DIS and BURS, played a key role in influencing the outcome of the 2019 general elections.”

Continuing his fiery speech, Saleshando accused the Director General of the DISS of making public statements about the IEC database and 2019 general elections that ‘demonstrated a desire and plan to interfere with the electoral process’.

“The DISS role in the 2019 general elections has put an ugly stain on the credibility of the election outcome. It was inevitable that those who knew that the involvement of the DISS in the election process was likely to compromise their electoral fortunes would find it difficult to accept the results. I therefore appeal to the nation to be patient with those who may choose to exercise their right to file election petitions,” Saleshando concluded.

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Politics

UDC plan mass demonstration

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Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will on Saturday hold a demonstration march from Old Naledi to the High Court as a call for democracy and fair elections.

Addressing members of the media on Wednesday, the UDC’s Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa, explained the initiative is part of their effort to raise public awareness around last year’s elections, which the umbrella maintain were unfair.

He revealed a message will be read to the public at the High Court where the court case petitions protesting the outcomes in certain constituencies are ongoing.

However, Mohwasa admitted that due to his busy schedule, UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando, might not attend as he is holding consultative meetings in Maun West.

“We know there have been talks on social media trying to discredit Saleshando but he is not snubbing the UDC events like alleged. His constituency is far and he is also busy with Kgotla meetings.”

UDC members

He added that although Saleshando may not make it, other UDC leaders, including President Duma Boko and Chairperson, Motlatsi Molapisi, will be present to read the message.

Although at the time of going to press a permit had not been issued permitting the march, Mohwasa was optimistic that the event was going to be a success.

“We expect all organisations to rally behind us as we fight this culture of election rigging,” he stressed, concluding by thanking UDC members for their ‘good behaviour’ despite the ‘situation’ they find themselves in.

“We all know elections were rigged but they (UDC supporters) haven’t been violent,” he said.

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BDP members fight for CC positions begins

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Factions expected to emerge

Factions are already emerging within the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as party members begin to jostle Central Committee positions.

The ruling party will finally hold its National Congress in July after it was postponed last year as fears that it could destabilise campaigns ahead of the general election mounted.

Information reaching this publication has indicated that some big names already lining up for the Secretary General position following alleged instruction from President Mokgweetsi Masisi to exclude the current SG, Mpho Balopi from the race.

This, a source has revealed, has opened up for many BDP members who fancy their chances to occupy one of the most powerful positions within the party.

According to party insiders, Dorcas Makgato’s appointment as the ambassador to Australia brought to an end a strong faction that she was expected to lead.

“We had expected her to challenge the Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane for Chairperson’s position with other strong candidates vying for other positions such as SG and Treasurer. However, all came to an end the moment she accepted her new post. However, Do not rule out another lobby list in the last days because a number of people have been overlooked in the last appointments and they are ready to try for positions in the CC,” explained the source.

Some of the names that have been mentioned include, former Minister of Health and Wellness, Alfred Madigele, Member of Parliament for Molepolole South and also a Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, former Minister of Defence, Justice and Security and also current Deputy Secretary General, Shaw Kgathi, 2019 BDP campaign Chairperson, Tebelelo Seretse, former MP for Palapye Boyce Sebetela and BDP’s Chairman of Communications and International Relations Committee, Kagelelo Kentse.

Seretse is said to be still weighing her options on whether to contest for SG, Women’s league Chair or Treasurer. This comes after unconfirmed reports have indicated that the current treasurer; Satar Dada was likely to step down.

“If Seretse goes for the position of treasurer, she is likely to be pitted against Jagdish Shah, who is the Deputy Treasurer. All this will happen only if Dada steps down,’ said the source.

The only unchallenged candidate at the time of going to press was Raymond Malinga, although there are allegations that he is not Tsogwane’s preferred candidate.

“Malinga will be contesting for the Deputy SG position and has quite a good following within the party structures,” added the source.

When contacted for a comment, Madigele confirmed having shown interest in the SG position.

“Yes, I am considering running for central committee, specifically SG position. I believe I have the zest, zeal intellect and leadership qualities to run the secretariat,” he confirmed.

On the other hand Kentse could only say, “My name must be mentioned as a democrat serving diligently as Chairman of communications.” Morwaeng denied having shown interest.

“I am not contesting for SG position,” he said in response. Efforts to get a comment from Kgathi, Malinga and Seretse failed, as they did not respond to messages sent to their phones.

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BDP accused of vote rigging

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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been accused of dividing trade union bodies and politicising the public service by employing only its card carrying members in senior positions.

This was said by Kgalagadi South Parliamentary candidate for Umbrella for Democratic Change, Micus Chimbombi, when delivering a message to the UDC masses who took part in the Saturday demonstration for Democracy and Fair Elections in Gaborone.

Chimbombi who was in the company of UDC President, Duma Boko, party Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando and other UDC parliamentary election losers said that the coalition of opposition parties and the large trade unions had garnered the UDC 17 of the 57 parliament seats in 2014 and sent BDP on a panic mode. “In a panic mode the BDP divided the unions and politicised the public sector by employing only its card carrying members in senior positions.”

He said that government also weakened, silenced and suppressed private media.

He mentioned that a plan to rig election began with the concerted attempt to impose Electronic Voting Machine ahead of the elections. “As if that was not enough the BDP secretly established a coalition with IEC and DIS to distort the election registration using money, multiple voting and vote buying.”

He added that unemployed youth, tertiary students, the poor and lumpen drunkards in rural areas and towns were given money, food hampers and alcohol on the election day to vote BDP. “Many of the voters carried several voter registration cards and voted twice and thrice which is illegal and fraudulent. This is how and why democracy in Botswana and the country’s peace is under threat.”

Chimbombi said that equally dreadful was the death of a free, fair and credible elections that Botswana has been known for.

He mentioned that as UDC they were staging the demonstrations and subsequently wants to mobilise the nation to stand up in defence of justice and democracy.

He added that they were demanding free, fair and credible elections, amendment of DIS Act, review of the Constitution, independence of democratic institutions towards functional democracy.

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