BCP Goes Solo To Raise Money For petitioners’ Bill

Each BCP constituency to raise P2 000

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has reportedly resolved to raise money to pay the court bill of UDC petitioners after little progress was made in the initial agreement of coalition partners to raise the money collectively.

Under the initial agreement involving all three coalition partners in the Umbrella for Democratic Change, each constituency was to raise P10 000. The raised funds were to assist all petitioners who stood under the UDC ticket in the 2019 general elections settle the court bill collectively.

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However, perhaps sensing potential weaseling out by other coalition partners, the BCP has reportedly decided to raise funds to rescue the petitioners whose properties face going under the hammer.

Sources say the BCP has agreed that all its 57 constituencies will raise P2 000 each instead of the initial P10 000 requested by the UDC. “The BCP has resolved to work alone to raise P2 000 from each constituency because it believes that raising P10 000 collectively as UDC partners will be difficult and cumbersome,” said one source. “The formula is that each constituency is divided by its council wards in order to determine how much each should contribute.”

Those close to the development say what influenced the decision was that only one BCP candidate was affected by the High Court decision while the rest belong to other UDC partners. In the 2019 general elections, the BCP had 18 parliamentary candidates 13 of whom won while five lost. Out of the five who lost, only the candidate for Gaborone Central, Dr Mpho Pheko, joined the petition that the UDC eventually lost. Pheko’s property, a vehicle, was auctioned a fortnight ago.

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The Chairman of the Francistown Region of the BCP, Tiroyaone Ntsima, has confirmed the development but said he is not sure of progress thus far made. “What I can only confirm is that the party has agreed that each constituency has to raise P2 000 for the petitioner’s bill,” Ntsima said in an interview with The Botswana Gazette.

While he could not be reached for comment, UDC president Duma Boko told a local newspaper last week that the petition bill is not the responsibility of any individual but the collective task of the coalition. “I am very much alive and aware of what is happening,” Boko was quoted as saying. “The legal bill matter is being dealt with by the UDC NEC and individuals who scoff at the efforts should desist from doing that.”

The petition bill amounts to P565 000 and all three coalition partners, the Botswana National Front, the Botswana Peoples Party and the BCP itself, were to raise the funds collectively.

BCP Vice President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang claimed ignorance of the alleged new development by his party when reached for comment. “I am not aware of the P2000 initiative. UDC has taken the decision to consolidate fundraising efforts for accountability by the Treasurer. The contributions are to meet the P565 000 joint legal bill to meet the cost from the Court of Appeal. It is estimated that if each constituency raises P10 000, we could make P570 000,” Gobotswang stated when responding to The Botswana Gazette enquiries.