- Suspensions with immediate effect - MPs barred from party activities - MPs suspended for defying party instruction

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has slapped five of its Members of Parliament with indefinite suspension pending disciplinary hearing for defying a party directive.

While the BCP National Chairperson Samuel Rantuana has not mentioned what the MPs are suspended for, Botswana Guardian can confirm that it is in connection with their decision to defy the BCP instruction not to attend last Sunday’s Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Caucus meeting.

The five MPs are Dithapelo Keorapetse of Selibe-Phikwe West, who is currently Acting Leader of Opposition, David Tshere of Mahalapye West, Kenny Kapinga of Okavango, Dr. Never Tshabang of Nkange and Onneetse Ramogapi of Palapye. The MPs had attended a UDC caucus meeting which took a decision to remove BCP President also UDC Vice President Dumelag Saleshando from the LOO position.

Saleshando is currently serving a three-month suspension together with the BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile which was slapped on them during a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last month in Palapye. The duo is challenging the suspension.

On Sunday 10th July 2022, some UDC Members of Parliament including the suspended five wrote a letter to Speaker of National Assembly indicating that a decision has been taken to remove Saleshando as LOO.

Rantuana revealed in the suspension letters that the BCP Central Committee in its meeting held on Tuesday this week took a decision to suspend the MPs with immediate effect pending disciplinary action.

Rantuana stated that during the period of the suspension, the MPs are barred from participating in any party activity of whatever nature. He explained that they will be served with their charges and applicable timelines for their suspension in due course.

BCP Secretary Kekgonegile who is also MP for Maun West wrote to all the 11 BCP MPs on Sunday not to attend the UDC caucus meeting. He said the party had been briefed about the BCP Parliamentary caucus discussions upon which no decision was taken in relation to the LOO position and related correspondences from the UDC president.

The MPs were then directed that “all BCP members who serve in Parliament of Botswana should not participate in the proposed caucus scheduled for 10th July 2022 or any subsequent caucus intended to or the agenda of which is to deal with any matter affecting the Leader of Opposition in Botswana Parliament until after the direction of the party conference scheduled for the 15-18 July 2022.

“All members of the BCP who are members of Parliament are to see to it that no such changes to the LOO position takes place and shall take such measures as are in their power to give effect to this decision.”

Saleshando had indicated during the BCP Leadership Forum in Palapye in May this year that the party has for long been lenient on members who disregard party resolutions and attack the party in wrong platforms.

He said the party will now take action against those who deviate from a decision agreed by the majority. Saleshando said their track record on how they manage to welcome new members is that they are a disciplined party which respect its established laws. He said Batswana need a place where there is respect and tolerance.

According to the BCP leader they have observed that things have changed lately.