BCP wants its position in UDC reviewed

BCP Membership
FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Francistown region wants the position of the party within the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to be reviewed at its upcoming conference in Bobonong.

The UDC is a coalition made up of the BCP, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP).

The region will however table the motion provided the BCP supreme leadership fails to offer genuine answers on certain key factors surrounding the controversy-riddled opposition coalition.The resolution to demand more clarity from the BCP leadership about the affairs of the UDC was taken at the BCP Francistown regional committee meeting over the weekend in Tonota.

 The regional leadership was acting as per wishes of the general members in Francistown following an intensive consultation.

The aggrieved BCP members are said to be deeply worried by the fact that the UDC has failed to implement the resolutions of its February congress, held in Gaborone.

Amongst the key congress resolutions was that the new UDC constitution should be submitted to the Registrar of Societies.

The yet to be registered UDC constitution fully recognises the BCP as a member of the coalition. The February UDC congress resolved that the coalition should hold a special congress in July, but as it stands, the congress will not materialise. The February congress resolutions should have been implemented within 90 days. The 90 days elapsed in May this year.

“If we do not get satisfactory answers as to why the resolutions are yet to be implemented, we will table a motion demanding that our position within the coalition be reviewed by the general membership at the conference. Members will decide if the UDC project is worth it or not,” BCP Francistown region chairperson, Dickson Dingalo said.

The BCP members in Francistown believe the party is not assured of its status in the UDC because the new constitution has not been deposited to the registrar of societies.

“Politically, we are part of the UDC but legally our affiliation in the UDC is debatable which means that our future in the coalition is not assured,” said Dingalo.

Insiders within the BCP have revealed that it is almost expected that the conference will decide that the party should pull out of the coalition following an unpleasant leaked WhatsApp conversation of the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) members most notable, the BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando and Sidney Pilane of the BMD.

The heated exchange between Saleshando and Pilane has heightened calls for the coalition to disband amongst many of its members and political pundits.

For some months, there have been strong doubts about the viability of the coalition owing to public skirmishes amongst its leaders

and members. Dingalo noted that the Francistown region also suggested that depending on the response of the leadership, it could be proposed that the party be given up to August to ensure that all resolutions and sticking points within the UDC are dealt with.  “If they are not addressed by August, the thinking amongst members in the region is that the party should pull out of the UDC,” he said.

He also said that BCP members are deeply worried about the uncertainty surrounding allocation of wards amongst the UDC partners.

The wards are to be contested for at the 2019 general elections. 

Some of the UDC February resolutions are that article 5.3 of the constitution replace ‘may’ with ‘shall’ so that it becomes mandatory.

In February, UDC members also resolved that Article 5 of the constitution should also include suspension and termination of membership.

It should also allow for voluntary termination and confer powers to suspend on the NEC through a simple majority and powers to expel to a special congress, termination of membership, as stated in the old constitution, should be incorporated into the new constitution.

Additionally, under the yet to be registered constitution, membership to the UDC shall only be through party affiliation.

Under the new constitution (yet to be registered), the structure of the UDC will not have either women’s or youth leagues. It also states that the principle of proportionality should be used as opposed to 10 members per constituency and decision-making shall be by two-third majority or 50% of the constituency members.

The revised UDC constitution also caters for a single Vice President (VP), meaning that Saleshando and certainly Pilane will vie for the position should it (constitution) be put into use.

The BMD is said to be bitterly against the idea of having a single VP, which is why the implementation of the UDC resolution has stalled.

UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa told Mmegi that a team appointed by UDC is working on refining the resolutions and putting the right wording.

“They will then submit the refined resolutions for approval by NEC,” Mohwasa said without stating exactly as to when the team will submit the report.

Mohwasa added that the UDC congress would only be held after a report on the resolutions has been submitted and approved by the NEC. Mohwasa declined to comment when confronted with allegations that differences amongst some UDC partners are the reason why the new constitution is yet to be deposited to the Registrar of Societies.




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