Defiant BCP legislators suspended

Suspended: Newly appointed LOO Keorapetse, Tshabang, Ramogapi, Tshere and Kapinga PICS: BWPARLIAMENT
Suspended: Newly appointed LOO Keorapetse, Tshabang, Ramogapi, Tshere and Kapinga PICS: BWPARLIAMENT

Five defiant Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Members of Parliament (MP) who were part of the Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) caucus that toppled former Leader of Opposition (LOO), Dumelang Saleshando and replaced him with Dithapelo Keorapetse have been suspended.

The members, who also include the newly appointed LOO Keorapetse, are Kenny Kapinga, Onneetse Ramogapi, Never Tshabang, and David Tshere. “The BCP central committee at its meeting held on July 12, took a decision to suspend you from the party with immediate effect pending disciplinary action. During the period of your suspension, you are barred from participating in any party activity of whatsoever nature. You will be served with your charges and applicable timelines for your suspension in due course,” Keorapetse’s suspension letter reads.

The five MPs defied a party directive not to participate in the caucus that was held on July 10 or any subsequent caucuses intended to deal with any matter affecting Saleshando until after the direction the party conference scheduled for July 15–18 would decide. As BCP legislators who defied their party, they made up the greater part of the eight MPs who removed Saleshando from the LOO position.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Pono Moatlhodi announced yesterday that the new LOO is Keorapetse following a letter signed by the eight UDC MPs. BCP has been treading carefully concerning its MPs and it is something that dates back to April's Bophirima ward by-election when the party decided to contest the ward in its own colours and symbols. It is reported that post the by-election, the MPs did not agree with the party’s impending decision to pull out of the Umbrella coalition.

Before the latest development, BCP had refuted claims that it is plotting to oust some of its legislators who continue to defy its leadership and decisions. In a previous interview with this publication, BCP spokesperson, Mpho Pheko had said that there was no plan by the party to expel any of its elected representatives.

“The BCP does expect its cadres, especially those in leadership, to be disciplined and to respect party decisions appropriately taken by the relevant structures. Members who defy party decisions will be first counselled and advised to abide. Failing which, appropriate disciplinary structures will act as required. The BCP has always maintained that it will not take action against the Members of Parliament because no democratic party will take action against a member for following their conscience in what is a manifestly difficult decision,” Pheko explained at the time.

Now that Saleshando has been voted out as LOO, the MPs face expulsion from the party as the BCP prepares to leave UDC after the weekend conference. It is said the BCP has since grown tired of the legislators who are now labelled as sympathisers of UDC president, Duma Boko. What angers the BCP leadership most is that the MPs side with the very same Boko who had Saleshando and BCP Secretary-General Goretetse Kekgonegile suspended from the UDC.

Editor's Comment
A step in the right direction

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