The controversy surrounding the approval of the application for former Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) interim Chairman, Advocate Sidney Pilane, seems far from over.
Botswana Guardian investigations show that following a meeting last week Tuesday at Tsogang Primary School in Gaborone North Constituency where the branch membership gave Pilane’s application for readmission the thumbs up, the branch committee held another meeting the following day (Wednesday) where the previous decision was reversed and Pilane’s application was rejected.
Gaborone North Branch Chairman, Maano Mario Thukwi confirmed in an interview that a decision was taken to reverse the decision and reject the application. He stated that the committee has executive powers over the branch membership as per the party constitution. He said the committee did this in the interest of the movement. “Of course the majority wanted him to be welcomed back, but we are looking at the bigger picture. We did not reject him solely on personal reasons. We are looking at the impact he would have once admitted into the party. The party is already divided over his membership. We are building this party so we do not want him to come here and break the party”, said Thukwi.
He said they fear that Pilane could be one of the people who have been sent to the BMD by their detractors with the aims of breaking the party. “We have many enemies who do not want to see the party going anywhere. So we have to guard against the interest of the movement. It is not that we do not want Pilane in the BMD, but what we are saying is that we put the BMD first”. The branch chairman said even though they do not have proof, they have been informed that Pilane has been holding secret meetings with some members of the BMD where he has indicated that he is back and “wants to take the BMD to greater heights. We are told that he has indicated that the BMD has more MPs and should take the leadership of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which currently its president is Duma Boko of the Botswana National Front.
His return has now uprooted factions. This could also negatively affect the UDC which BMD as a member would not want its prospects of success being thwarted”. He however said they do not have a problem with Pilane approaching any structure of the party. Botswana Guardian can also reveal that the BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole demanded the minutes of the meeting which resolved to reject Pilane’s application. This publication is also informed that the branch committee which is among those who do not want Pilane are doing all they can, to ensure that his application does not succeed or at least if it does, then it would not be at Gaborone North.
Thukwi said there is no way Mangole could be availed the minutes while the committee had not approved them. “What Mangole did was in contravention of our Constitution. He cannot call us and demand the minutes. We are supposed to approve those minutes; that is when we can forward them to the National Executive Committee (NEC. It is true that we were to meet on Tuesday this week to deliberate on the minutes and give them to Mangole but that was not to be because we could not form a quorum as the committee”. He dismissed claims that this is one of the tactics to frustrate those who want Pilane. He said they had to meet because Mangole was putting them under pressure. Thukwi however said he cannot state exactly when the next meeting would be held. “We are now focusing on preparations for the Boswelatlou Ward by-election in Lobatse.
I do not know when I will be able to call a meeting”, he stated. For his part Pilane said personal interests have been allowed to take precedence against the interest of the movement. He said even though some constituencies approached him but he wants to join in Gaborone North because that is where he resides. “Something sinister is going on. This has now become a matter of principle as individuals who needlessly as I have not said that I want any position occupied by anyone, are placing their personal interest ahead of those of the movement. We did not found the BMD so that individuals can place their personal interest ahead of those of the movement. There are no contra circumstances. On the contrary as the overwhelming members of the BMD, UDC and public would tell you, the BMD and UDC need me”, he said. Mangole requested to be called at a later stage as he was still in a meeting and at the time of contacting him for the second time his phone was off.