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BMD disputes BCP coalition membership

MPHO MOKWAPE
Crowd of UDC and BMD supporterd in court PIC: MPHO MOKWAPE
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has warned Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to stay far away from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The BMD that is challenging its expulsion from the umbrella has accused BCP of meddling in matters it has no business in, claiming it is not a member of the coalition.

The party says BCP is not a member of the UDC and as such its (BCP) members were not lawfully entitled to participate in meetings convened to suspend and expel the BMD.

According to the BMD secretary general, Gilbert Mangole’s review affidavit BCP remains an outsider in the UDC. Explaining that BCP only attempted to join the UDC in 2016, which failed because a new drafted constitution incorporating BCP was never submitted to the Registrar of Societies despite being agreed on.

“BCP attempted to obtain membership of the UDC not in terms of the provisions of the registered constitution of the UDC but by a way of negotiating with the founding three parties,” said Mangole.

He explained that UDC was formed and registered by BMD, BNF and BPP therefore BCP has no business in forming part of the decision to expel their party from the umbrella they formed while it was not even a member.

“No political party has since the registration of the UDC in 2012 applied to become a member of the UDC in terms of procedures set out in the registered UDC constitution with the result that the only members of UDC remain BMD, the BNF and BPP,” he said.

He explains that the BMD seeks seeking a review of the decision by UDC to expel them. He reasons that among others grounds the umbrella does not have authority and that the suspension was without due process. 

There was lack of notice to them (BMD) and that participation of BCP members in the decision despite being a not a member are yet other factors. The

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grounds stated in his papers are that UDC notwithstanding the provisions of constitution has never since its inception and registration of its constitution in August 2012 held a congress, never registered any amendment of its constitution, never elected any of the structures made provision for its registered constitution.

He argued the coalition has never elected a President, any office bearers or other officers as it has only had informal structures and officers for practical purposes pending the holding of a congress. Further, the BMD was not given any notice prior to its expulsion despite being entitled to be given notice and to participate in meetings and decisions of the UDC.

However UDC President, Advocate Duma Boko said that it was surprising that BMD now rejects BCP despite its President, Sidney Pilane having admitted that BCP was part of the umbrella. In his answering affidavit, Boko explained that BMD acknowledged that BCP was a member even in their letter addressed to the new party,  Alliance for Progressives (AP). “During the run up to the UDC constitutional consultative congress in 2018, Mr. Sidney Pilane in his capacity as the umbrella vice president addressed a letter of invitation dated February 18, 2018 to political party known as AP reiterating that BCP was one of the parties comprising UDC,” he said.

Boko further argued that even after its admission BCP has participated in by elections under the name of UDC without any contention from the BMD and that BCP was further recognised as umbrella member in the  national assembly.

On the expulsion without prior notice or providing further particulars, Boko denied the allegations saying that BMD was given due notice as required by law and that the request sought by BMD for further particulars was dealt with.



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