The Botswana Congress Party's (BCP) weekend leadership forum may make or break the party even further.
Some MPs have made it clear that they were voted under the UDC ticket, therefore, they cannot disassociate themselves from the UDC because of the fight over the Bophirima ward.
It is quite clear that things between the UDC and its affiliate, the BCP, have become frosty. The BCP believes that it could work well with the opposition Alliance for Progress (AP) better than other UDC affiliates, which are the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana People’s Party (BPP).
On the other hand, some MPs believe that for the BCP to take such a drastic stand, it needs a mandate from its congress/conference, not the central committee resolution. Already some members of the BCP have gone on social media posting threats that they are going to de-campaign some of the MPs in their respective areas.
Moncho Moncho, who was campaigning for the party secretary-general position wrote: “Go nale mapalamente a BCP ba ba ntseng ba na le boikgantsho mo BCP, tswelelang banna. (There are some BCP MPs who are prideful).” His post, however, evoked debate as some clearly stated how they will de-campaign those MPs while some supported them. One of the MPs, Never Tshabang for the Nkange constituency said: “O tla fola comrade.”
The five MPs who did not agree with the party central committee decision include Kenny Kapinga, Dithapelo Keorapetse, Tshabang, David Tshere and Onneetse Ramogapi while those who supported the decision of the central committee were Dumelang Saleshando, Taolo Lucas and Kgoberego Nkawana. MPs Kesitegile Gobotswang and Goretse Kekgonegile were not in attendance.
However, the BCP secretary-general Kekgonegile said the agenda of the leadership forum is to discuss the preparation for the 2024 general election and the state of the party.
“Some of the issues to us are old and we are very united. It is important for our members to know the state of their party. How we can improve some of the things and the way forward. Again, we need to prepare for the general election as the party. Time is no longer with us,” he said.
Still, on the matter, Mmegi has learnt that some of the decisions that will be made are going to be taken to the congress for discussions.
According to the new amendment of Section 68 of the Botswana Constitution, the seat of an elected member or a specially elected member of the National Assembly shall become vacant upon dissolution of Parliament, if she or he is absent from the sittings such circumstances as may be prescribed in the rules of procedure of the assembly, subject to the provisions of subsections (2) and (3) of this section if any circumstances arise that, if he or she were not a member of the assembly, would cause him or her to be disqualified for election thereto; if he or she was elected to the assembly for a political party, the member resigns from the party or if she or he was elected to the assembly as a candidate who is not a member of a political party.
Professor Tachilisa Balule of the law department at the University of Botswana recently said it will be an ill-advised move if the BCP were to think of taking the route of decamping from the UDC.
“It is quite clear that the UDC is registered as a political party at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) not as a coalition therefore, this clause becomes very clear that if the BCP resigns from the UDC then automatically the seats of those MPs and councillors would become vacant. What could happen is that the UDC may inform the Speaker of the National Assembly that the BCP has pulled out of them,” Balule told Mmegi in a recent interview.
He added that the issue is that the BCP has never campaigned or contested the positions on its ticket, therefore, the MPs and councillors are recognised as members of the UDC.
"Automatically, we will be having by-elections for those areas. This one they cannot win in court in any event, they would want to challenge it. The issue is that they were elected on the UDC ticket that is regarded as a political party, not a coalition," he noted.