BNF SG explains Umbrella situation
Pre-election fever is slowly creeping in as the 2019 general election fast approaches, but Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is yet to resolve many internal problems bedeviling the coalition.
One of the contracting member party, Botswana National Front (BNF)’s Secretary General, Moeti Mohwasa explains the seemingly worrying situation to The Voice journalist, FRANCINAH BAAITSE MMANA.
Q: How ready is UDC for 2019 general elections?
Well, we are getting ourselves ready as UDC for 2019 general elections, which we believe are very important in all respects because Batswana are looking forward to change of government and their only hope is UDC, so what we want to do is prepare this vehicle to take them past the current challenges they are facing.
Q: There is still a challenge of the constitution, which is yet to be approved by the registrar of societies. How are you going to resolve that?
I don’t know why you believe it is a challenge. To us it is not a challenge.
We know we started off with talks between UDC and BCP (Botswana Congress party) and that is the current position.
It is not surprising that the two presidents, Duma Boko of UDC and Dumelang Saleshando of BCP, signed the amended constitution.
It was a culmination of the talks between the old UDC and BCP.
Q: But UDC member party, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) filed an objection at the registrar. What do you say to that?
We cannot comment on the BMD objection, but on what we have done and what we believe is the right procedure.
There will be objection on the political space regarding various matters, be it constitution, wards or positions, we will always have the situation and we don’t expect people to always agree to everything.
What is most important is how then do we resolve those objections.
Q: How true is it that the registrar has rejected the amended constitution?
Like I was saying, we are waiting for a response. You should bear in mind that the UDC is a political party that brings together other political parties and like I have indicated also, they will be challenges bringing these four parties with different cultures together. We cannot say it is true or false until we get a formal response.
Q: Tell me about the leaked resignation letter which was written by your party treasurer, Noah Salakae. You have registered concern about his comments on our interview with him last week?
I saw the article in The Voice, and I have since gotten in touch with the comrade, but he says he did not put it that way.
I don’t know the origin of that letter because I have never seen the letter with my two eyes.
It implied that I was involved in the leaking of the letter.
Q: He never said you leaked the letter, but that the letter was internal and never meant for public consumption.
From what I picked up from issues on social media, he had an intention to resign and he did not.
Since he did not submit the letter to the office, it means nothing changed.
The letter did not reach the office of the Secretary General.
My only beef was that the way it was put suggested that I received the letter.
Q: Have you ever discussed issues of finance with him recently?
He is the head of finance; we sit together with the vice president, organizing secretary, deputy secretary general in the budget and finance committee.
As the chief administration officer, I am in charge of the office so whoever wants money goes through me and I pass the request to the committee before I can authorize payment.
That is how we operate. So we interact and talk about finances and other party matters.
We work as a collective in terms of decision-making.
Q: You don’t have a single woman Parliamentary candidate. Are you not failing your women?
We have to concede that we are failing women especially that we are the first party to advocate for women empowerment and quotas.
But you should understand that the surface area in which we could recruit women has reduced.
In those years, we contested all 57 constituencies and opportunities were more open.
Secondly it is not easy in politics. You should understand that most women are dis-empowered right from home.
Men can go out and hassle while women are held up in domestic work.
Q: How many constituencies are you contesting?
We cannot say how many now because of the recent resolutions and also the problems we still have with the BMD.
There is uncertainty pertaining to some constituencies.
They feel they are entitled to them and we also feel we are entitled to them.