It’s a BMD stalemate

Nicholas Mokwena
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Ndaba Gaolathe and his team after their meeting with UDC Ndaba Gaolathe and his team after their meeting with UDC BOTSWANA GUARDIAN

Efforts by Umbrella for Democratic Change to solve the political crisis within Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) may be headed for a dead-end given the latest developments.

Ndaba Gaolathe, who leads one of the BMD NECs, stood his ground on Tuesday night that UDC leader Duma Boko and his NEC should conclude the matter this coming Thursday (August 31st) while rivals, led by Advocate Sidney Pilane called for postponement of their appearance to September 4th and 9th.

Gaolathe, joined by his entire NEC, reiterated his faction’s stance on Tuesday night at Oasis Hotel during his presentation before the UDC jurisdiction. At the same meeting, Gaolathe’s NEC pulled a shock surprise on Pilane’s NEC when it brought Matshekge Hill School congress Electoral Board Chairman to testify. Andrew Koziba Kgakgamatso who is also Mmopane- Lentsweletau Branch Chairperson, gave his side of the story which played in favour of Gaolathe’s faction, a factor that is believed may have prompted the request for deferment by Pilane’s NEC. A detailed report was also presented at the hearing while structures making up the NEC gave oral evidence during the meeting that lasted until midnight.  Meanwhile, Botswana Peoples Party was for the third time in a row, still not part of the meeting. BPP has maintained that it would not be part of the UDC meetings that are attended by Botswana Congress Party until remaining issues of the UDC are ironed out. This rich statement is said to be what could burst the bubble of establishing a new party - something that the UDC leadership is desperately trying to avoid. According to the letter seen by this publication, Pilane’s BMD NEC, which was scheduled to appear before the UDC on Wednesday night requested a postponement to the 4th and 9th of September 2017. Pilane-led NEC Secretary General Gilbert Mangole confirmed that they requested a postponement. “We requested the postponement because some of our NEC members would not be in. 

“We gave them a period that we would be available in which we would be able to attend. We are still committed to solving the matter that is why we do not want to appear before the jurisdiction in installments,” said Mangole dismissing claims that this is a delay tactic. 

Mangole, who is also MP for Mochudi West ,revealed that they have plenty of evidence, documentary and oral, which would establish the truth and more beyond any doubt. He said they would be delighted to adduce it should the occasion ever arise. UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa confirmed the postponement of the Wednesday hearing but declined to shed more light stating that it is an internal matter.

According to insiders this could be another tactic by Pilane-led NEC to frustrate their rivals with the sole aim of pushing them to leave the BMD and form a new party. Gaolathe has stated on several occasions that forming a new party is an option but would be the last one to consider. 

The aim is to register the party next month, a matter that may be legitimised by Gaolathe’s calls to have UDC settle the impasse by the 31st of August 2017. Following the communication by Advocate Pilane’s faction for postponement, Gaolathe’s NEC met Wednesday night to consider the next move should the UDC heed Advocate Pilane’s NEC request.  Gaolathe-led NEC Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale confirmed that they are meeting but declined to share what would be discussed. He said as the legitimate BMD NEC they have to meet from time to time if the need arises. 

The ball is now in Boko’s court to weigh the excuse for postponement by Advocate Pilane’s faction against the timeline set by Gaolathe.

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