The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is currently experiencing serious internal strife as two factions fight for the control of the party. Now there are reports that the aggrieved group wants to challenge the recent cancellation of the Youth League congress in court because it finds it unconstitutional.
Jacob Kelebeng was expected to take on current Youth League spokesperson, Kagelelo Banks Kentse for the position of BMD Youth League president. Kelebeng is seen as being sympathetic to the Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi axis while Kentse is a friend to the Nehemiah Modubule and Gilbert Mangole group.
Following the postponement of the planned Youth League congress that was scheduled for Ramotswa this weekend, the warring parties’ differences were reignited, prompting a scuffle at the party’s National Working Committee meeting that resulted in the alleged assault of party chairman, Nehemiah Modubule and secretary general, Gilbert Mangole by the “presidential body guards”.
The incumbent BMDYL committee decided to postpone the congress because of lack of funds and lack of a complete register of delegates for the congress among other reasons. Paramount, this publication is told, there are fears that there could be “blood on the floor” because of the differences between the two BMDYL camps aligned to the National Executive Committee factions.
The two groups, one led by party President, Ndaba Gaolathe and Vice President, Wynter Mmolotsi and the other by Modubule and Mangole are so parallel that they operate from two separate offices to run party affairs. On the other hand, some members from the Gaolathe side have stopped paying their subscriptions to the party head office.
Gaolathe/Mmolotsi axis had at some point pushed to have a special congress last year, but they were not successful. The intent of the special congress was to remove Modubule-Mangole and company from the leadership of the party. The Gaolathe-Mmolotsi camp was also against the re-admission of Advocate Sydney Pilane as a member of the BMD, but could not succeed either because he had the backing of the majority of the National Executive Committee.
Pilane was seen as eyeing the presidency of the BMD and speculation was rife that he wants to challenge Gaolathe. But things have progressed since then, with the Modubule-Mangole camp falling out with Pilane and reports suggests they have openly told him they do not want him to contest the presidency of the BMD. Insiders insist that Pilane and the Modubule camp are not on the same page anymore.
BMD is expected to hold an elective congress in July this year and fears are that the party is going for a bloody show down. Some observers blame the BMD problems on its liberal constitution which has spread powers to a cumbersome committee. Others posit that the problem lies in greed as the jostle for power will never end. The BMD is a splinter group from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
The BMD is a significant partner in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which is led by Botswana National Front (BNF) president Duma Boko. Gaolathe is the first Vice President of the coalition. The other Vice President is Dumelang Saleshando of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
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.