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BCP Won’t Retreat On New Constitution

INNOCENT SELATLHWA
Dithapelo Keorapetse
The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) affiliates are in a bitter wrangle over a constitution recently submitted to the Registrar of Societies.

The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and The Botswana People’s Party (BPP) want the constitution, which amongst other things, gives the president powers to expel member parties and provision for one vice president, expunged.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) maintains that they would not be willing to go back and negotiate the constitution further.

BCP spokesperson, Dithapelo Keorapetse said the constitution is the result of the voice of the people as per their February congress.

“When the negotiations between UDC and BCP started, it was agreed that two parties, UDC and BCP, negotiate as equals, each with six representatives. At the lower level, we would have streams to negotiate Constitution and Governance, policies, constituencies etc.

At the level above stream, it was negotiating teams, then the upper most structure was the presidents of both UDC and BCP to make final decisions.

“Our view is that the final document, which is the constitution should be signed by both UDC and BCP presidents,” he said. Keorapetse said it was after the admission of the BCP into the UDC that a constitutional congress was convened whereat members of the UDC resolved on what they wanted included into the constitution.

“It is surprising how some people say we are not members of the UDC when currently the umbrella party is using a symbol and colours that are in the new constitution.

“All four parties in the UDC have used the new symbol

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in by- elections,” he said.

Keorapetse said there is nothing in the constitution that has not been agreed on by the four parties, stating that the agreement was made at Boipuso Hall in February.

“When the final document was codified after delays, some decided not to participate so that they sabotage or delay the process, but those who were there, finalised and submitted against the backdrop that the two presidents of UDC and BCP will make final decisions,” he said.

“We are not interested in the views of those who think the masses of our people were wrong in what they have decided.

“Duma Boko (UDC president) and Dumelang Saleshando (BCP president) did not register a fraudulent document. They just put together what the people decided.”

BMD president, Sidney Pilane was on one of the local radio stations last week stating that the constitution that was submitted was unlawful as themselves and the BPP had not signed it.

He said they would speak to the UDC for it to withdraw and submit what they deemed as the proper constitution.

UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa said they are yet to receive a formal complaint over the constitution that has been submitted. “As it stands, there has not been any formal complaint filed. We will only discuss the matter at an NEC meeting after a complaint is filed. We cannot be engaging each other through the media,” he said.



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