The chairman of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Nehemiah Modubule has confirmed that former party President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy, Wynter Mmolotsi have been expelled from the party.
Among those slapped with expulsions is former party Youth League President Phenyo Segokgo, Women’s wing President Joyce Mothudi and Harriet Rampa. Kabelo Mahupe was the only one to survive the expulsion charge. He was only slapped with a reprimand. The expulsions are the zenith of a spirited power-struggle between factions led by Gilbert Mangole and Nehemiah Modubule and Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi on the other hand.
Modubule told this publication that the BMD-six were found guilty on all charges they were facing after they did not pitch up for a disciplinary hearing session. Furthermore, he denied that the expulsions will fracture the party to a split because history is replete with the same scenarios. “Unfortunately I’m not a prophet. But it won’t break the party. If an individual is undisciplined you have to take action. It is not necessarily true that it will cause a split. It has happened before that BNF expelled its president even though there remained some imperfections with disgruntled members forming National Democratic Front (NDF).”
He further said that the best way to deal with indiscipline is to nip it in the bud for the benefit of the entire movement. ‘If you don’t deal with indiscipline it will grow. We cannot tolerate indiscipline.” He also said ill- discipline measures are clearly enshrined in the constitution and state that a member can be suspended, reprimanded, expelled or directed pay compensation. He also said that congress preparations are ongoing and that there is no way it will be postponed. “Congress is there. There is nothing to suggest otherwise.”
He however said that the suspended members will be barred to participate in party activities because of their status, opining that they will perhaps pin their hopes on the delegates to speak for them. Gaolathe and his sympathizers were suspended in May and barred from holding any party meeting. They had apparently been suspended for participating and holding a debarred youth league election in Ramotswa where youths allied to the Gaolathe group were swept into power.
At the time, Gaolathe and Mmolotsi rubbished the suspensions and proceeded to hold a debarred party meeting on the 21st of May. They had argued that the National Executive Committee (NEC) had no powers to suspend the leadership. The Modubule axis is in full control of the National Executive Committee (NEC) while the Gaolathe group has strong popular appeal among the party rank and file.
Modubule confirmed that the expelled group was served with letters on Tuesday. The next morning an unfazed Gaolathe gave a moving eulogy at the late Sir Ketumile Masire’s memorial service. The struggle for leadership in BMD has been ongoing for over two years now. The fracas reached a tipping point after the readmission of Advocate Sidney Pilane into the party. Pilane is one of the co-founders of the movement that was formed by disgruntled ruling party leadership in 2011.
Party activists rejected Pilane arguing that he harboured ambitions to challenge Gaolathe for party leadership and subsequently Duma Boko for the presidency of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). His opponents viewed Pilane as a possible a saboteur, pontificating that he had served as counsel for Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) boss Isaac Kgosi. Pilane had left the BMD fancying a judicial appointment as High Court judge after losing the election race for leadership to Gomolemo Motswaledi.
The shock expulsions come as BMD revs up for an elective congress in Bobonong on the first week of July. This means that Gaolathe and Mmolotsi who were billed to defend their positions will not stand and it is not yet clear who will contest for the positions of president and vice president.
Gaolathe told his sympathisers in Letlhabile to stay calm and vowed that come rain or shine he will be in Bobonong. Gaolathe had promised that the party’s congress in Bobonong this July holidays will go ahead as planned. “If they deny me entry then I will address you from outside. Ke tla gokela digoa-goe ke bo ke le buisa ke le ko ntle,” he vowed recently. At the same Letlhabile meeting he had even predicted that he they might be expelled the next day.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.