The suspension of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi will come as a stern test for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader who is being asked to drop the duo from the leadership of Umbrella party.
Gaolathe is currently the Vice President of UDC jointly with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader Dumelang Saleshando. Gaolathe is founding UDC Head of Policy and Research and also served as party Secretary General following the passing of Gomolemo Motswaledi.
Meanwhile Francistown South legislator, Mmolotsi is the Head of Mobilisation for the UDC. The suspension letters authored by Deputy Secretary General, Tseleng Botlhole, sent to the duo this week state that the duo and others who are suspended are not allowed to ‘participate in the BMD activities, formal or informal, official or unofficial for 90 days.” The two founding members of the party hold their positions at the UDC by virtue of their positions at the BMD, an affiliate of the UDC.
What aggravate the situation more, observers say, is the fact that the duo have since denounced their suspensions, stating that the suspension is invalid since the party NEC does not have the power to suspend or expel any member of the NEC. Gaolathe has remained defiant as he revealed to this publication that he and Mmolotsi will continue to carry out their official duties. He was not perturbed by suspension as he noted that he is fighting a good cause.
Meanwhile the suspension of the party’s top two will test Boko’s mantle as he is being asked to drop the two in a clearly factional battle brewing in the seven year old Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) splinter party. The UDC has chosen not to interfere in the internal matters of the BMD. Other suspended members include legislators, Phenyo Butale and Haskins Nkaigwa; as well as former Youth League President, Phenyo Segokgo; and Joyce Mothudi, Women’s Wing president.
The development will likely put Boko between a rock and a hard place, because failure to drop Gaolathe and Mmolotsi could upset the faction led by party Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General, Gilbert Mangole. While on the other hand dropping Gaolathe from his position could be seen as betrayal and may likely cause discomfort among UDC faithful.
UDC constitution, like that of BMD does not give extensive powers to its president, something which could come back to haunt the umbrella party. It was however anticipated that the effects of BMD instability could spill into the UDC as the war between the two factions rages on.
However the UDC constitution is amiable to derecognising members of UDC NEC who are suspended by their affiliate party. Exercising that option will amount to alienating Gaolathe and faction from UDC. But on paper, the matter is straight as a ruler, UDC recognises the affiliate parties and leadership positions are allocated according to the position one holds from the affiliate party – therefore the UDC has no choice but to follow the spirit of the BMD secretariat letter.
Another contention which may play out ahead of the BMD July congress is a court battle to challenge the validity of the suspension of Gaolathe and his followers. There has been a debate raging on on whether their suspension was constitutional or not with legal brains having differing opinions on the matter. When contacted for comment UDC spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa said he is not in a position to comment on the matter because the party leadership is still studying the contents of the letter.
Last week, on the eve of Tlokweng bye-election a day after the decision to suspend the duo was taken by a Modubule/Mangole faction controlled NEC to suspend the Gaolathe and Mmolotsi —Boko assured supporters that he will stroll to victory in 2019 with Gaolathe and Saleshando.
“Ke a go winner ditlhopho tsa 2019 ke nale ditautona tsame tsotlhe tsa diparty tsa magata mmogo tsa UDC . Ke raya bone baa b sekotameng jaana eseng ope gape, le seka la tshoswa ke sepe, a mang wa rata, a mang ga a rate.” Loosely translated, “I am going to win power in 2019 with my vice presidents. I am referring to the incumbent office bearers not anyone else. Do not be shaken by anything.” In trying to hold on on to their positions, Gaolathe and his camp will tomorrow return to Letlhabile in Gaborone, a place where BMD was officially launched as a political party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.