Botswana Democratic Party’s massive recruitment drive launched on the opposition and led by party Chairman and Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi has completely infiltrated its breakaway party, Botswana Movement for Democracy.
Botswana Guardian has observed that all the BDP’s new recruits come from the BMD. However, the over 50 rank and file BMD members that have defected to the BDP all came from one faction sympathetic to Advocate Sidney Pilane. Since his arrival the party has been deeply divided especially after the Mochudi West Branch admitted him back into the party he founded in 2010.
Sources at BMD have revealed that the anti Pilane faction led by party President Ndaba Gaolathe and his vice, Wynter Mmolotsi is having a field day as the BDP continues to recruit members who are deemed to be pro- Pilane led by BMD Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General Gilbert Mangole. “What the BDP is doing is making it easy for Gaolathe who has declared his position against Pilane joining the party. That is one other reason why you would never hear the party leadership position on the exodus and defections of members to the ruling party. This is because those people are the ones who were sympathetic to Pilane”, said a BMD National Executive Committee member.
It is understood that after the BDP started making inroads on the pro- Pilane camp (Modubule- Mangole led faction) the Gaolathe-Mmolotsi led camp decided to come to the table to negotiate a compromise. Prior to the defections they insisted on a Special Congress as opposed to a compromise, which was suggested by the Modubule-Mangole faction. The rank and file members who are joining the party en-masse have been associated with the pro Pilane camp. These are the people according to sources who were ready to fight tooth and nail for Pilane and were holding various positions in the party structures.
After he was admitted back into the BMD, Pilane is said to have assisted in resurrecting the collapsed structures across the country. The rank and file members who were on various party structures were ready to ensure that come the Special Congress they would ensure Advocate Pilane’s admission into the BMD is voted for. BMD Youth League President Phenyo Segokgo is said to be among the party leadership who are against Pilane’s admission. Segokgo even though most of the members who are leaving the BMD are youth has been mum on the matter raising suspicions that he could be among those who are celebrating the dismantling of the pro Pilane camp.
Segokgo has since stated that they are worried about losing members but they cannot be commenting on the same issue each week as the BDP parades the new recruits. Most of the people who have been paraded by the BDP as new recruits from the BMD, have indicated that they left because the leadership is at loggerheads. They have also stated they were being victimised because they supported a certain individual who the party leadership did not want. If what the new recruits said is anything to go by then more BMD members especially those in leadership positions are expected to join the BDP. Yesterday BDP was scheduled to welcome yet another prominent figure from BMD. BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane said their focus is on recruitment and they care less about the BMD factions. He wondered how if politics is a game of numbers- then losing members could stabilise the BMD.
Ntuane stated that those who join the BDM do so voluntarily while others are recruited. “We have three categories of recruits- those who volunteer those that we recruit who promise to join only to back track and those who promise and eventually join the BDP. We do not recruit along factional lines and those that we recruit we make it clear to them that as BDP we do not condone factions”, explained Ntuane. For his part Mmolotsi declined to comment saying the Secretary General is best placed to comment as the custodian of the party secretariat. Mangole could not be reached as his phone was off. Pilane despite having been followed by this publication to respond to a questionnaire delivered to him regarding his return and influence in the BMD has not responded even though he promised to do so.