- CP says NEC has no powers to suspend Saleshando and Kekgonegile
- Argues UDC can suspend a party, not individuals
- UDC insists Saleshando and Kekgonegile are suspended and not the BCP
The contentious suspension of Dumelang Saleshando and Goretetse Kekgonegile from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) may have created a constitutional crisis for the opposition coalition.
Saleshando, who is the president of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), says the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the UDC has no powers to suspend them from the coalition. In an interview with The Botswana Gazette this week, he cited Article 7.2 of the UDC constitution and pointed out that they do not hold individual membership of the UDC but have group membership of the coalition through the BCP.
Saleshando and Kekgonegile were suspended by the coalition’s NEC at a meeting in Palapye over the weekend after they were accused of making statements that soiled the reputation of the opposition bloc. “We are a group member of the UDC,” Saleshando told The Gazette in this week.
“We do not hold any individual membership of the UDC. The UDC’s NEC does not have any powers to suspend us as individuals but can only suspend our group membership as per article 7.2 of the UDC constitution.”
He disclosed that they were yet to be served letters of their supposed suspension. “We don’t even know when the suspension will go into effect,” he added. A statement released by the BCP on Saturday said the party will meet in Mahalapye next month to decide its future within the UDC.
The UDC is made up of the Botswana National Front (BNF), the Botswana People’s Party and the BCP as contracting partners. It has a total of 15 Members of Parliament, most of them held by the BCP. Many believe that the contentious suspension of Saleshando and Kekgonegile could mark the end of the relationship between the two organisations.
Meanwhile, the UDC spokesman Moeti Mohwasa has reiterated that only Saleshando and Kekgonegile have been suspended and not the BCP. “The UDC NEC has taken a position to suspend the two from representing it in any way and the disciplinary process will be completed within 90 days,” Mohwasa stated.
“They will be allowed to argue their case and say why they believe they should not have been suspended. For now we decline the invitation to engage in a public spat that will not assist the two or the movement. Suffice it to mention that the UDC believes that those who fully believe in ensuring a change of government in 2024 will behave and act in a manner that reflects that posture.”