Botswana: Umbrella for Democratic Change Remains United - Boko

Botswana's President, Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Gaborone — The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) remains united and has inbuilt mechanisms to ensure coordination of its contracting parties.

Addressing a press conference in Gaborone on Monday, UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko said the absence of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) from the opposition coalition media engagement should not be interpreted to mean fractured relations.

Earlier on Monday, the BCP issued a statement on their official social media platforms, signed by their deputy leader, Sefhare-Ramokgonami MP, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, specifying the reasons their leadership would not attend the UDC leadership press conference.

The statement explained that the BCP had not managed to virtually attend the Mahalapye UDC leadership meeting of June 10, which took the decision for the press conference to take place, and neither the minutes of the meeting nor the reasons for the media engagement had been shared with the BCP since.

Advocate Boko, flanked by representatives from the other two UDC partners, the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana People's Party (BPP) said they would engage the BCP internally.

"The national executive committee (NEC) of the UDC has directed, not only that I must, as its president, hold this press conference today, but that going forward I must be more visible despite recent constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic," Advocate Boko said.

He said the drafters of UDC constitution had appreciated that a political coalition would on occasion have to deal with divergent views of member parties. They then infused mechanisms to mediate such potential clashes of interest, including the transition clause of the UDC constitution stipulating that each party should have four members in the NEC, Advocate Boko said.

"Included in the UDC constitution were potent and effective instruments to enable the coalition to function like a collective. The transition clause of the UDC constitution is an integral part, enabling the leadership as representatives of the various interest groups to steer the organisation without being duly hamstrung," Advocate Boko told the press.

He decried what he called the weakening of national oversight institutions such as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), which he said, had hamstrung the country's battle against corruption.

Advocate Boko further said the state of emergency had not brought any tangible results in preventing the further spread of COVID-19.

"The UDC maintains that our elderly people must be paid an old age pension of P1 500 per month and students a P2 500 stipend per month. If we take a figure of 100 000 elderly people and 25 000 students, the total budget for them would be P150 million and P750 million respectively; the total under P1 billion towards the upliftment of thousands of our people," Advocate Boko said.

Source : BOPA

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