The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) faction led by President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy, Wynter Mmolotsi is lobbying for support for proposed reforms to dilute the powers of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and give members power to vote on major decisions.
This publication has established from highly placed sources within BMD that the Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction has tabled a host of proposals for the imminent Special Congress. Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction won support from branches to convene a Special Congress for the beleaguered movement. More than 24 branches, from the required minimum of 19 have written a letter to NEC requesting for Special Congress.
WeekendPost has established that, top among priorities of Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group, which is believed to be enjoying the support of ordinary members is the review of the party constitution. The NEC will be stripped some of its privileges, including that of making major decisions.
“The party wants to introduce a mechanism which will allow ordinary members to participate in major decisions, not just allow a few people to decide,” said the source.
The party, this publication has learnt, is planning on introducing a referendum where members will go on a voting exercise to show consent or disagreement with a matter which will be the subject of discussion at the time.
The Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group is reportedly rubbed the wrong way by the status quo, where they believed the party is held at ransom by a few NEC members at the expense of the aspirations of the general membership. The party’s top two believe that the BMD NEC has been captured and is controlled by outside forces.
“The concern is that Pilane is dictating terms and gives instructions on what should be done and what should not be done,” the source added.
Pilane’s association with the country’s top spy, Isaac Kgosi has been the major reason for him being rejected. The Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group are of the view that allowing Pilane to control BMD will be tantamount to being controlled by the regime they are fighting.
Forming part of the reforms is giving the party president powers to instil discipline within the movement. The president will be given the power to suspend any member but there will be restrictions with regards to the expulsion of members. The power to expel members will solely be left to the party’s national congress.
Initially, the group had proposed that the president be given both powers to suspend and expel members, but Gaolathe was in opposition of the proposition, arguing that it would be if the party president is also given the power to expel members.
Disbanding of lobby lists
BMD also wants a system in place, which will discourage aspiring NEC candidates from contesting using lobby lists. The party will introduce candidates’ debate and give branches and regions the power to summon candidates and stage a debate, in an effort to give delegates the opportunity to choose candidates to support based on what they promise to offer to the party.
“The branches or regions will not be allowed to host only one candidate if more candidates are contesting, unless the other candidates chose not to come for the debate,” said the source.
The lobby list arrangement has become popular in Botswana, and through it, candidates are voted in mostly through a group manner rather than individually. In most cases, Central Committee or executive party positions are won through lobby lists, resulting generally in marginalisation of the losing team.
The Gaolathe/Mmolotsi group are of the view that the lobby list, though permissible currently has the potential to polarise the party in the long run.
The Modubule/Mangole faction is however of the view that, the current impasse in the party is a result of failure to accept defeat by the group sympathising with Gaolathe at last year’s national congress. It is however believed that ahead of the 2015 Gantsi Congress, Mmolotsi sympathised with the Modubule/Mangole team but broke ranks with the faction when the issue of Pilane’s return to the party cropped in.
Mmolotsi has been instrumental in the presidential tour, which has resulted in him and Gaoalthe winning support for the convention of a Special Congress. Modubule, Mangole will not be expelled
Although tempers are flaring within the Gaolathe/Mmolotsi camp, with some calling for the expulsion of Modubule and Mangole, Gaolathe has reportedly told his team not to overreact. This publication has been informed that, his priority has been to have a new team, which he believes without Modubule/Mangole would be able to run the party affairs in the interest of party members.
However, Goalathe is said to be feeling ‘disrespected’ by the duo and agreed that the party president should be given some sort of privileges to restore unity in the movement. Modubule, Mangole resist congress
The Modubule/Mangole faction has made it clear that it does not support the Special Congress for fear that it will not solve the infightings but widen the rift. Alternatively, the group had preferred for the factions to be brought to one table in an effort to reconcile them.
Modubule/Mangole group had hinted that, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko and Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) could intervene.
This publication has however gathered that Boko and BOFEPUSU are clear that BMD should refer the matter to its members through the Special Congress. Weekend Post has also established that, Lebang Mpotokwane, the convenor of talks which led to UDC formation and key member of the party is in support of a solution which would come from party members.
With branches having already written letters calling for a Special Congress to be convened, the Modubule/Mangole faction has been disarmed, a result which may see them thrown out of the NEC after the congress.
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.