No reversal on Saleshando and Kekgonegile’s suspension
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is standing by its decision to suspend the President of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando and his Secretary General, Goretetse Kekgonegile instead of suspending the whole party.
The BCP through its lawyers, Martin Dingake wrote to the UDC demanding that they withdraw the suspension in or no later than the 28th June, failure of which the BCP shall exercise other available options to defend their rights.
The deadline set by the BCP has passed and no action has been taken.
However, UDC’s Head of Communications, Moeti Mohwasa said that they stand by their decision to suspend the duo and not the party.
“National Executive Committee members who disregard and undermine UDC NEC decisions will have action taken against them regardless of the affiliate party they belong to. We have a duty to protect the image of the UDC. Batswana have pinned their hopes on the UDC to bring them a better life,” said Mohwasa.
Giving a background to what led to the suspension of the two BCP leaders Mohwasa narrated that around the beginning of the last quarter of 2020, they saw a plethora of articles carrying interviews and opinion pieces from the BCP leaders calling for what they termed the democratisation and good governance within the UDC.
He said that the UDC, as a listening organisation resolved that the BCP be given a platform to ventilate its grievances at a meeting that was held at The Majestic Hotel in Palapye on the 5th December, 2020.
“The outcome of that meeting was that no one will talk about a UDC Congress until after we had concluded talks with the AP and the BPF. A few months later, contrary to the expectation that we had moved on, we found ourselves at the same station we were at previously. Some of the BCP leaders attacking the UDC in public and their actions threatening political paralysis.” He said that a meeting was convened in Palapye on the 10th July 2021 and the same resolution was arrived at.
“That this matter remains where it was on the 5th December, 2020.”
Mohwasa further said that amongst the many other resolutions, two important ones relating to the matter were made.
“It was resolved that each party submit a draft constitution that will shadow what it would like to have incorporated in the final constitution, taking into account that we are a coalition organisation. It was further resolved that action be taken against any NEC member who continued to publicly disparage or compromise the UDC brand.”
Mohwasa said that they never thought this matter could be publicly revisited by some NEC members after they had discussed it extensively.
He said that the impression created was that they had reached a common understanding on the matter.
However this year they found themselves fending off the same transgressions and the UDC NEC then took a decision to ask for a retraction and an apology from the transgressors.
They were given more than two months to apologise but they just brushed aside the resolution once more and ramped up the attacks.
“The UDC NEC could have acted much earlier but the feeling was that those who have erred would appreciate the importance of protecting the UDC brand and apologise so that they could move forward,especially that they had been availed an opportunity to make an input into transforming the UDC in the way they saw appropriate.”
Mohwasa said that if they were indeed genuine concerns regarding democratisation and good governance, an opportunity had been availed to all to incorporate such aspects into the constitution if some felt they were absent or inadequate in the current one.
“The two, democracy and good governance are important to the UDC just like they are to any other progressive and transformative organisation,” said Mohwasa adding that the narrative that there is no democracy and good governance at the UDC is not true.
“It is insincere and very unfair. Having given this background, the UDC NEC had no option but to take the action it took,” he concluded.