The Gaolathe-led faction of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is preparing its members for a ‘bomshell’ announcement expected in a week’s time
However, Phenyo Butale, the faction’s secretary general avers that theirs is “... normal visit to meet our structures in Francistown”.
The faction visited Francistown before the Bobonong congress to brief members on the state of the party within the context of the internal wars at the time. Immediately after the congress where a split had occured another national tour was made by the party leadership resulting in another meeting in Francistown.
Amidst rumours that, by mid-September the faction will have announced that it is indeed morphing into a fully-fledged party, the leaders of the faction will address its members this Saturday in Francistown. A member of the faction, who explained that the majority of the members of the faction at the consultative meetings that were held countrywide a month ago felt that the way forward was the formation of a new party, revealed that, the purpose of the weekend meeting is to report back to the Francistown region the difficulties the faction is experiencing within the UDC.
“Over and above that, the leadership will be coming to share with us feedback from the other regions,” said a BMD member speaking anonymously. Asked to confirm or deny allegations that his faction had registered a party and that it was only a matter of time before an announcement is made to that effect, Butale, for the umpteenth time denied the allegations.
“No. That is not true. The UDC only met the other faction yesterday over the problems of the BMD and we are eagerly awaiting their recommendations,” said Butale who however noted that, the decision to form a party or not lies not with the party leadership but with the people. With the trust levels in the UDC dropping by the day, it appears the leadership of the faction has inflexibly resolved that the formation of a new party is the way to go. The media has been awash with reports that, divisions in the UDC are widening by the day.
“We have had enough acrimony. Firstly it was us against the Pilane-led faction before the split. We are now involved in a fight with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) in the Umbrella with the UDC president, Duma Boko aiding the BCP. We do not trust Boko. The only solution is to move on by way of forming a new party because we do have the numbers,” said the source who does not think an alliance between the Boko-led UDC and Gaolathe’s party is even feasible.
“That is out of the question as far as we are concerned. It is also going to be difficult for us to enter into a formal relationship with the UDC such as the formation of a government of national unity because we will once again disagree on the positions we are currently fighting over right now,” said the source referring to the fact that, the BCP and BMD are fighting over who should be the 1st Vice President and who should be the 2nd Vice President.
According to pundits, should the animosity between Gaolathe’s party and the UDC be allowed to persist, there would then be the likelihood that, the new party will form an alliance with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) on account of the fact that, a sizeable number of Gaolathe’s party members will be from the BDP.
Should this happen, the UDC, which many believed would unseat the BDP at the 2019 general election following its good performance at the last general election, will have once again missed the boat for the foreseeable future. Media reports say that, the Botswana Peoples Movement (BPM), the alleged name of the new party, is likely to attract members from the existing parties.
“It is true that our leadership is under pressure from Barata Phathi faction in the BDP not only to form a new party but to pull out of the Umbrella as soon as possible. Many BDP Members of Parliament (MPs), councillors and ordinary members are coming on board. They prefer the new party to the UDC so that they may contest as many wards and constituencies without constraints such as incumbency.
The UDC, especially the Botswana National Front (BNF) is also going to lose members and so will the BCP,” said the source who revealed that, the Gaolathe group wants the Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP) to dissolve and become part of the Movement.
“The idea is to make a public announcement a week after this weekend meeting that a party has been formed. The intention is to hold our Convention at the end of October,” said the impeccable source.