Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Ndaba Gaolathe says Mangole, Modubule violated and denigrated party constitution
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Ndaba Gaolathe has in a written letter to the party National Executive Committee (NEC) told members that Advocate Sidney Pilane’s re-admission will only be decided by the party at its next congress.
The two letters dated 21 October 2015, seen by this publication- were addressed to the party Secretary General, Gilbert Mangole and the other to members of the NEC in essence, de-recognising the decision to re-admit Pilane back into the party. In the letter addressed to the NEC members, Gaolathe explains that if indeed such a decision was taken, members of the NEC will have presided over and participated in a denigration of the constitution of the party.
“The unconstitutionality, violation of procedure and the array of circumstances around this matter would leave the NEC or the party with no choice, but to place such a decision, if indeed it was taken, in abeyance and then be referred to the Movement’s highest organ, the National Congress for proper and fair resolution,” the letter to the NEC reads in part.
“There is no urgency in the matter and it would be addressed by the National Congress at it next regular meeting.”
Gaolathe further explains that membership application in terms of Article 5 of the constitution should be submitted to and considered by a Brand Committee, which may accept or refuse it. He further states that any such acceptance or refusal is subject to review by the next higher organ of the party, which in this case is the Regional Committee.
“The Constitution does not countenance a situation where an applicant for membership “shops” around, going from Branch Committee to Branch Committee receiving rejections until he or she arrives at one that would grant an acceptance,” said Gaolathe who was outside the country in Switzerland when the decision was reportedly taken.
Gaolathe who is also the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General explained that any attempt to “shop” around in the manner Pilane has done offends against the Constitution and is improper as it amounts to violation of the Constitution.
“The proper process should have involved a request by Pilane to have the refusal of his membership application by the Gaborone North Branch Committee reviewed by the next higher organ of the party, and this is the Regional Committee,” he said.
The Gaborone Bonnington South legislator further remarks in the letter that the NEC remains vested with powers to overturn the acceptance of any membership application.
“…Even acceptance of a membership application that is proper and regular, does not immediately confer full membership on the applicant. It confers only provisional membership which may only become full at the expiration of 8 weeks from date of notification of the granting provisional membership,” he stated.
“In the ultimate instance, any decision of any organ of the party is subject to review, ratification, alteration or rescission by the highest organ, the National Congress. This is in terms of Clause 14.3 of the constitution.”
On the other letter addressed to Mangole, Gaolathe is calling on the party Secretary General to explain why the NEC presided over and participated in such a denigrating act to the party’s constitution.
“I am keen to learn from you and the Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule why this decision, if indeed it was taken, was reached in these divisive circumstances including in the absence of the Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi, who is acting on my behalf, along with other reputable members of the NEC, and who clearly expressed and demonstrated refusal to participate in the flagrant denigration of the constitution of our Movement,” reads the letter in part.
The party president is also unimpressed by the fact that Mangole communicated directly to the media before he informed or notified Mmolotsi or even himself as party president. “In my view, you as the Secretary General along with the Chairman, knowingly or unknowingly have acted in ways that are divisive to our party, and have gone against the spirit of unity in our large Movement, the Umbrella for Democratic Change,” he stated.
The former party National Policy Director further remarked that Mangole and Modubule’s conduct has been both inappropriate and unfair to the party and the masses that have lent the party their goodwill. “I expect that you will revise your conduct, or the people, when the right time comes, will revise it for you,” he said.
Gaolathe told Mangole that in previous NEC meetings, he has been reluctant to involve himself in the Pilane matter, to preclude the idea that he may be conflicted about considering the application of a member with previous presidential ambitions.
“I did so inspired by my faith in yourselves, as fair and responsible leaders on whom the future of our collective vision could be entrusted,” he said. “Your actions and sense of judgement have discredited my faith in you.”
The letter further states that Mangole is expected to respond in writing providing explanation to Gaolathe and also do so verbally at the next NEC meeting. According to the letter, the Pilane matter will be referred to party congress in 2017.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
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