- Party no longer invited to UDC NEC meetings - BCP not part of NEC resolution to admit BPF - UDC Special NEC meeting resolves to defend suit by Saleshando, Kekgonegile - Saleshando vowed to continue speaking about UDC elective congress, Constitution-NEC minutes

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is isolated within the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as it is never invited to the coalition leadership meetings.

Information reaching Botswana Guardian is that the BCP last participated in a UDC National Executive Committee meeting in June this year, where a decision was taken to suspend the party (BCP)’s President Dumelang Saleshando and Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile.

The two were suspended during the meeting held in Palapye for a period of three months, pending disciplinary action, a process expected to be concluded within the suspension period.

Botswana Guardian can reveal that since the June 2022 UDC NEC meeting, the coalition executive held two other meetings, one in Francistown on the 24th of July 2022 and the other on the 6th of August 2022.

The July Special meeting which was held after the launch of the UDC Council candidate for Moselewapula Ward by-election was called to discuss the legal suit instituted by Saleshando and Kekgonegile against the UDC and its leader Advocate Duma Boko.

It was at this meeting that the NEC resolved to defend the suit and enlisted Ramaotwana Attorneys to represent the UDC. It was further agreed that the UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi should sign all papers related to the court case.

Another meeting which the BCP did not participate in was held on Saturday last week where the UDC NEC met with that of Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). The purpose of the meeting was to consider matters of mutual and national interest.

According to a communiqué signed by Boko on behalf of the UDC and BPF Acting President Caroline Lesang, the NECs agreed that BPF become a UDC member with immediate effect; that parties establish working streams to work on the constitution policies by the 28th September 2022; that all affiliates of the UDC will submit draft constitutions to enable amendments of the existing one by the 30th August 2022; that further efforts be made to engage the Alliance for Progressives (AP) to join the coalition; and that the next meeting will be held on the 9th September 2022 to get progress reports from the working streams.

It is highly-likely that the BCP might not be part of the September meeting. Interestingly, the BCP through its Central Committee is in negotiations with the AP at the same time that the UDC is courting the AP to join it.

BCP President Saleshando confirmed in an interview, that the BCP has not been part of any meeting of the UDC NEC since their suspension.

He said as per the norm and expectation an invite would have to be extended to all affiliates including the BCP, but they have not been invited to any of the meetings post the June meeting at which they were suspended.

He revealed that to this day they have also not been served with their suspension letters or charges. UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa had not responded to enquiries at press time.

The UDC filed its opposition papers against the suit with Maun High Court late last week. Documents filed with the court include among others minutes of the NEC meetings starting from the January 29th 2022 meeting until the Special NEC meeting of July 24th 2022.

Court records reveal that the July meeting which decided to defend the case was attended by six NEC members. None of the attendees were from the BCP.

Minutes of the 25th June 2022 shows that Saleshando and Kekgonegile have in their defence indicated that all the statements they made in public media forums were organisational (BCP) decisions and hence could not apologise as individuals. They denied ever having made any statements maligning the UDC.

“Cde Saleshando informed the meeting that he was going to continue addressing issues of UDC elective congress and constitutional review despite resolutions taken by the UDC NEC at previous meetings,” reads part of the minutes.

It is stated that Tshimologo Dingake, BCP Women’s League President and BCP Treasurer Oral Mosedame recused themselves from the meeting in support of Saleshando and Kekgonegile.

“Cde Saleshando informed the meeting that their suspension is a suspension of their organisation, the BCP. All the four BCP representatives left the meeting.

“Cde Tshimologo Dingake and Cde Oral Mosedame informed the meeting that they would not participate in any UDC activities and UDC NEC meetings following the suspension of Cde Dumelang Saleshando and Cde Goretetse Kekgonegile. They then walked out of the meeting,” reads the minutes which were recorded by Nono Kgafela-Mokoka.