New information has emerged suggesting that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) is the secret hand behind the mayhem within the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
Botswana Guardian has uncovered a 2016 top-secret Project Proposal by the DISS’s Special Task Team whose main objective was “to neutralise Ndaba Gaolathe as ‘centre-of-power’ in both BMD and UDC.” The proposal has only four objectives. The other objectives were to:
To neutralise Ndaba Gaolathe’s political credentials.
To fragment BMD into warring factions.
To neutralise the UDC which is an existential threat to prevailing political order and the DIS
Gaolathe is the president of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)—a splinter party of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). BMD is a member of united opposition parties; the Umbrella for Democratic Change which was formed in 2012 and had a sniff of power during the 2014 general election when it won 17 parliamentary seats and more than 50 percent of the popular vote.
The DISS’ proposal which sources say is now in full operation describes the UDC performance in 2014 as having “sent shockwaves throughout Botswana political landscape” inversely presenting a credible political threat to the political order under which the BDP has been dominant.“Looking at this political threat retrospectively, BDP is likely to be deposed from power come 2019 General Election. This will have serious political implications that threaten our peace and stability,” reads part of the proposal seen by this publication. The DISS as per the proposal views the UDC as a serious “existential threat” to its existence (DISS). “There is a likelihood that the UDC government will dismantle the service and possibly pursue prosecution against officers. This threat cannot be taken for granted and needs to be given due attention,” reads the document.The DISS’ assessment of the UDC is that the alliance of the BMD, Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana Peoples Party poses a major political and existential threat both to the BDP and DISS. “The 2014 Election showed that unlike in previous elections, the alliance had sufficient financial support for their campaigns. This is a new and a serious political development that needs to be given due attention and neutralised.”The proposal reveals that the DISS holds Gaolathe in high regard and thus to destroy the UDC then Gaolathe and the BMD should be targeted.
“Our assessment of the profiles of the UDC leaders is that BMD’s Ndaba Gaolathe is the ‘ace’ of the alliance,” reads the document which further notes that Gaolathe is the think-tank and strategist of the UDC and enjoys overwhelming public support and respect. Gaolathe enjoys good regional and international reputation. Having previously worked for South African and Namibian governments, Gaolathe has proven to be popular with ANC and SWAPO, the report notes. “Information reaching us is that Gaolathe is also popular with US government and is often invited to meet with US Embassy staff. Therefore, Gaolathe is the backbone of the UDC. Our assessment therefore is that, if the UDC is to be neutralised, the focus must be on Gaolathe.”The DISS also states in the proposal that frustrating and ultimately deposing Gaolathe from politics is a plausible strategy to counter the political threat posed by the UDC. “Although, Gaolathe is strong as an individual, our assessment is that the BMD as a party is very weak and therefore presents a window of opportunity. As such we propose to exploit these vulnerabilities in order to intensify factions and internal strife with the BMD.”
BMD wars started in 2015 after its Ghanzi elective congress. The elected National Executive Committee (NEC) got polarised to a point where there was a call for a special congress. The party is scheduled to elect a new leadership in Bobonong over the long weekend where two factions are fighting for control of the orange movement.
Interestingly both camps, the one led by expelled President Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi and the other led by Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General Gilbert Mangole, have accused each other of having the backing of DISS to dismantle the party. Even though they have failed to avail proof to that effect they have always maintained that DISS is sponsoring the other to destroy the BMD and by extension the UDC.
DISS Director General Isaac Kgosi laughed off the matter when reached for comment saying there is no proof that his organisation is involved in BMD infighting. “People should stop saying things without proof. I have always maintained that if there is proof that the DISS is doing any wrong then appropriate action would be taken. I have even told the Public Accounts Committee recently that I would not entertain claims that cannot be substantiated,” said Kgosi.The proposal has a profile of Gaolathe as well as his political beliefs. “As an economist, his involvement in politics was through speech-writing assignments for Botswana’s former President Mr. Festus Mogae, who he also occasionally advised, on economic and other matters of national interest. Gaolathe brings wide experience in economics, strategy, governance, and finance, modelling and general leadership.
“He has worked for an economic think tank, governments, investment bank regionally and internationally at all levels,” it reads in part.