- Finger-pointing follows Boko press conference
- BCP denies agreeing to postpone press conference
- Leaked WhatsApp conversation suggests otherwise
A leaked WhatsApp conversation between leaders of the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) about a controversial press conference addressed by the president of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko in Gaborone on Monday has resulted in finger-pointing between the two parties about sanctioning or not sanctioning the press conference, The Botswana Gazette has established.
The press conference seemed ill-fated from the start when the BCP, which is a key partner in the coalition UDC, released a statement distancing itself from it even before it was held. The BCP statement said what was to be said at the press conference had not been discussed with it.
It added that the BCP and Motlatsi Molapise of the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) had asked for postponement of the press conference but the request was rejected by Boko. The BPP is a member of what is effectively a tripartite coalition that includes Boko’s Botswana National Front (BNF) and the BCP.
To add to the ensuing brouhaha, the BPP has distanced itself from any request to postpone the press conference. In its own statement, the BPP has warned the BCP to desist from involving it in anything without prior consultation because doing so could damage relations among UDC partners. “The BPP is an autonomous legal entity and would not want to have any other party advance any ideas or reports on its behalf,” it says in a statement signed by its Secretary for Publicity, Kgafela Mokoka.
“We therefore would like to advise our UDC partners to desist from aiming any statement about the party without prior consultation, especially when such are made public.”
However, in a leaked three-way WhatsApp conversation that is purported to be between BPP president Molapise, BCP president Dumelang Saleshando and Moeti Mhwasa as the publicist of both the BNF and the UDC, Molapise clearly calls for the press conference to be postponed. “Comrades, let’s postpone the press conference, if so,” he says in response to what amounts to persuasion by Saleshando that the press conference would do more harm than good for the UDC. “I propose that we allow for the party leaders to meet and agree on what the UDC needs to do for its own internal stability as well as the good of the nation,” Saleshando offers.
Even so, Molapise has insisted that he never backed Saleshando’s proposal to postpone the press conference, saying his was merely a suggestion after Saleshando’s assertions. “I suggested the postponement following Saleshando’s complaint but I was overruled by the majority and I somersaulted,” he said in an interview in the aftermath of the controversial press conference.
“So the BCP cannot claim that I backed their proposal because I ended up conceding that it would be wrong to defy the UDC resolution. My suggestion was that maybe the BCP could be given enough time before the press conference. I do not want any confrontation with the BCP, so they should stop implicating me in their issues with the UDC.”