While the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)’s Ndaba Gaolathe’s faction criticised Advocate Sydney Pilane for ditching the party at the time of need, the latter insists it was for the good of the party.
The Ndaba Gaolathe faction says he left the BMD a frustrated man after losing to the late Gomolemo Motswaledi for the party’s presidency. But the prodigal son would later come to claim the presidency under Modubule/Mangole faction and he confirms that a P100.000 debt and the VAT that he accumulated for financing BMD was the main reason of him leaving active politics.
Speaking at the just ended Bobonong Congress which saw the two warring camps hold separate congresses, Advocate Pilane said that he took a conscious decision to quit active politics to find work so that he could make money and clear the debts lest he found himself in the wrong side of the law. Pilane’s name is touted as the financier of the movement since from its formation. His followers argue that the critics who say he ditched the party when he was need most holds no water as he (Pilane) continued to support the party financially even after leaving BMD.
Pilane stated that when they started BMD, all National Executive Committee (NEC) members respected the constitution of the party, saying one of the reasons he left BMD is that NEC members started amending the constitution without following the relevant procedures to effect change on the constitution. “People started having side agendas and that is when I felt things are no longer the same,” he said.He said that after leaving the party, Motswaledi pleaded with him to come back to the party and promised him the position of spokesperson but declined, advising him instead to appoint other capable members of the party to take up the role.
On why he came back to BMD
“I came back to the BMD mainly to come and help facilitate mediation talks between UDC and the BCP so that BCP becomes part of the umbrella,” he said. He said that when he felt that he can be of any value to the unity of the opposition parties, he reapplied for membership at Gaborone and his membership was approved and granted. He fingers Wynter Mmolotsi as the having control over Ndaba Gaolathe, pointing out that his membership was recalled and nullified after Mmolotsi told the Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa and BMD President, Ndaba Gaolathe that he (Pilane) was after two things, Nkaigwa’s constituency and the BMD presidency.
He said after Mmolotsi’s advice to the two MPs, Gaolathe wrote a letter nullifying his membership. “I do not know if he did not have the confidence to contest for the position with me,” he asked rhetorically. After he was denied membership in Gaborone North, Pilane said that he then decided to try his luck elsewhere and was accepted and granted membership in Mochudi in Gilbert Mangole’s branch, a development that lead to him being accused of membership shopping. Mangole is a ring leader alongside Nehemiah Modubule who fights in Pilane’s corner.
While supporters of the Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction advance that Pilane’s sole reason for coming back to into BMD was to contest for the party presidency against all odds, Pilane asks if the BMD presidency is a reserved position for certain people. His supporters rubbish claims that their leader’s membership is a contentious issue, arguing that if indeed Pilane’s membership was such an eye sore, why Gaolathe as president allowed him to lead the BMD Taskforce Team. To Gaolathe’s rescue, his followers say that whatever Ndaba did not agree to was defeated by the majority in the NEC. Pilane’s enthusiasts on the other hand argue that the NEC is the decision making body and therefore what was defeated or agreed by the NEC stands.
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.