Nine out of 12 regions want Gaolathe to form new party

Nicholas Mokwena
Wednesday, 09 August 2017

Plans are said to be at an advanced stage by disgruntled members of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) to form a new political party.

BMD has been divided into two camps since its bloody congresses held in Bobonong village last month. The fractured BMD now has two National Executive Committees (NEC) with Advocate Sidney Pilane leading one while Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolathe, leads the other. 

During the Gaolathe led NEC countrywide tour, members of the party called for the formation of a new party and leaving Pilane and his ‘cronies’ with their name. It emerged at a meeting held in Gaborone on Tuesday night that out of the 12 regions visited nine of them have called for the formation of a new political organisation. 

BMD is a contracting member of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Of the UDC MPs in Parliament both BMD and Botswana National Front also member of UDC, have eight MPs each. The tie came after MP for Maun West Kgosi Tawana Moremi quit BMD to become an independent MP.

At the Tuesday meeting it was agreed that since the Gaolathe led NEC has written to UDC Executive Committee for intervention the process should be allowed to take place. It was however evident that a new formation was in the offing given the mood at the meeting. There were three option, being to form a new party or go to court or await the UDC outcome. It was agreed that if the UDC decision is not favourable then a new party should be formed. 

Gaolathe led faction believes that the court route would be costly and would come with consequences. It was also feared that the court process takes time and it is costly and if they do not succeed it might be too late for a new party given the available time towards the 2019 general election.

Political commentator Anthony Morima said the BMD split is long overdue. Morima stated that the earlier the BMD split the better. He argued that the court route that the Gaolathe led faction wants to consider would be a waste of time for them. 

“I foresee them losing in court. If they have the numbers as they claim then they should go ahead and form a new party because there would be no need for mobilisation of members. If they have the numbers then the Pilane faction would be just a shell”, said Morima. 

He is of the opinion that politics is not about time but numbers. He said there is still time to prepare for the 2019 general election. He observed that chances of reconciliation are slim because leaders of the two factions are not prepared to work together. 

He also stated that if Gaolathe faction has the numbers as they claim then the UDC might be forced to accommodate them. He was however quick to caution that the UDC would have to be mindful of the tension between the two factions.

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