The factional battles brewing inside the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) have seen the developments taking ugly turn this week when a faction led by party Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule took a decision to suspend the party president and his deputy.
But Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi have rubbished the suspension, saying the National Executive Committee (NEC) has no such powers. Repports suggest that the impromptu meeting called on Thursday night saw the Modubule controlled National Executive Committee (NEC) taking a decision to suspend Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi, the party president and vice president respectively.
It is reported that the decision was arrived at through voting. Gaolathe is said to have left the meeting immediately after the decision. Observers fear that the BMD conflict if not resolved quickly could hurt the chances of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as it campaigns to take over power from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). But all eyes are now fixed on the proposed July elective congress of the BMD as the solution.
Meanwhile the BMD NEC also took a decision to suspend other party activist who attended the party youth league congress held in Ramotswa two weeks ago. This include former Youth League President Phenyo Segokgo, who is also Chairman of South East Council, Phenyo Butale (Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central), Haskins Nkaigwa (Member of Parliament for Gaborone North). The party also suspended National Organising Secretary Kabelo Mahupe and the Women’s Wing President Joyce Mothudi.
Gaolathe and Mmolotsi have both disregarded their suspensions since the NEC does not have powers to suspend or expel any member from the party. Gaolathe has said he will continue his duties as party president. Gaolathe and Mmolotsi are scheduled to address party members on Monday this coming week.
Mmolotsi who received the news while abroad has also denounced their suspension, saying it is only BMD members through congress who can relieve them from their duties. Mmolotsi said the Modubule/Mangole faction wants to undermine the decision of Ghanzi Congress where the leadership was elected.
Mmolotsi also expressed that the time frame in which the decision was taken shows clearly that it was meant to undermine Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) efforts in retaining the Tlokweng Constituency. “I want to state for the record that we have observed a consistent trend by some of our leaders to cause commotion every time there is a bye election. What is sad is that they wait for the last days so that their actions could affect the elections. It happened in Sekoma, Phillip Matante and now Tlokweng.
Nkaigwa has also dismmised the suspension talk as ploy to divert the attention from the ongoing Tlokweng bye-elections. The suspension of the leader of the other faction and their associaite havs been anticiapted. Following the Youth League congress, the Modubule/Mangole faction addressed a press conference where they stated that they are considering susepnding Ndaba and his camp.
Modubule and Mnagole had urged that the Youth League congress which was held in Ramotswa was unlawful and unconsitutional, while the Gaolathe faction where reportedly furnished with legal opion which upheld the decison to continue with the congress. Both faction have held two different opinions on the legality of their actions. Last years, the Modubule/Mangole led faction thwarted efforts by Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction to call a special congress, because they did not enjoy support.
Sidney Pilane, who has been at the centre of controversy was present at BMD office when the decision was taken. Pilane is not a member of NEC but remian a powerful figure in the Modubule camp and has reporteldy been pulling the strings for the faction. A liberal BMD constitution, which vests more powers on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), has made it difficult for the party to resolve the impasse as NEC members remain divided.
The adoption of a liberal constitution by BMD at the 2011 Inaugural Congress was motivated by the manner in which the late party leader, Motswaledi was suspended by President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama from his position as BDP Secretary General in 2009, a few weeks after being elected into the position at the party congress. Pilane is the chief architect of BMD’s constitution. Pilane quit the party in 2012, a year after being defeated by Motswaledi for the party leadership at the party’s inaugural congress. It is reported that Pilane is also eyeing to contest the BMD presidency at the July Congress.
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.