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The ultimate ultimatum

Daniel Chida
BOLD: Mohwasa

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has rallied its elected Members of Parliament and Council to ignore a directive from Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President, Duma Boko, to write letters to confirm their desire to represent the party (UDC) in 2024 elections.

Addressing a rally recently, Boko announced that all incumbent BCP MPs and councillors will be given until today (26th September) to respond. He said those who have expressed interest will be allowed to stand on a UDC ticket.

The BCP later responded with an angry press statement, confirming they had noted Boko’s ultimatum ‘with disappointment but not surprised’.

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“This is the type of crass transactional politics we have come to expect from the UDC. It is offensively undemocratic and tramples on the social democratic ethos in the vilest of manners. Above all, it is yet another devious but ill-thought attempt to divide the BCP. This attempt will fail. No self-respecting member of the BCP will respond to this infantile ultimatum,” reads part of BCP Publicity Secretary, Mpho Pheko’s strongly-worded response.

The Voice Reporter, DANIEL CHIDA, engages UDC Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa, to explain what triggered the Umbrella’s directive…

Why did you single out BCP in your statement and not other parties in the UDC?

It is because the BCP constructively has terminated its membership of the UDC.

It is clear from demeanour and language that it does not see itself as part of us.

It attacks us and openly defies our resolutions and constitution. Clause 8.3 of the UDC constitution states clearly that, ‘Once a group member, an organisation shall not individually enter into any agreement with any political party which is not a member of the Umbrella.

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Any agreement involving a group member and any such party shall be a collective matter, negotiated and executed exclusively by the Umbrella’.

Clause 8.4 goes further, ‘The structures, authority and powers of member groups of the Umbrella shall be subordinate to the power and authority of the Umbrella’.

Actions by the BCP do not suggest that it treats itself as a member.

Further to the transgressions mentioned above, it is a cooperation partner of AP, a non UDC member contrary to the provisions of the UDC Constitution.

Should BCP affiliated members ignore the call, what will happen to them?

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Then it will indicate that they are not willing to contest under the UDC. Those that apply will be allowed to contest.

This is meant to protect members who want to stay behind when the BCP bolts out.

The UDC NEC, which the BCP was a part of, took a decision in 2018 to protect BMD members who were 2019 general elections candidates when their party was expelled from the UDC.

The central issue is protection of members who want to continue being part of the People’s Project.

Was this a collective decision from the UDC NEC or a directive by Boko?

It is a resolution of the NEC. Boko has never and does not issue directives.

He is a member of the NEC and is subject to its control and authority like any other member.

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Do you have people to replace the MPs you are likely to lose to BCP?

The UDC is big and a people’s movement. It will never run short of leaders and representatives.

It is bigger than any individual party. When the BCP chose not to contest the Moselewapula by-election under UDC ticket, the UDC came up with a candidate that got elected.

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The outcome of the by-election is quite telling and has sent a warning shot to our adversaries.

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