Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President Advocate Sidney Pilane says his party existed within Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) prior to its public announcement in 2010.
He has pointed out that people are now vilifying the BMD which has contributed much in the coalition project. The BMD President said people are attacking them because they want them to run away from the coalition because “they fear us but we are here to stay”. According to Advocate Pilane the BMD was conceptualised when former BDP leader Ian Khama tried to bar Daniel Kwelagobe from contesting the chairmanship of the BDP during the 2009 elective congress in Kanye.
At the time President Khama issued a directive that members who were in cabinet should choose between being minister and holding a position in the central committee. Holding both positions was out of bounds, Khama said. Kwelagobe let go of his ministerial position and pursued the party chairmanship.
“When Khama said he is doing that for effectiveness of the central committee, he was lying he just wanted to consolidate power. He knew most of the BDP members would dump central committee positions for ministerial posts. He wanted to divide them so that he takes control of the BDP support base.
“That is why Kwelagobe remained and then Secretary General Jacob Nkate dumped the position to remain in the cabinet. Nkate lost grip because he wanted to be in cabinet, now he is nowhere,” said the former BDP member and advisor to President Festus Mogae during his office tenure. Advocate Pilane who was addressing BMD members at Big Five Lodge in Mogoditshane where the party was officially formed in March 2010, said Khama tried to lobby Kwelagobe into leaving the chairmanship of the BDP. He said he joined Barata-Phathi in their fight against having Kwelagobe leaving the central committee.
“We ensured that people he wanted to be in control of the central committee lose elections at the Kanye elective congress. That is why he disappeared from the congress before it even ended,” he stated. The Advocate told the gathering that he has never been an enemy of the opposition as people perceive him. This is why in 2009 together with Botsalo Ntuane and Kabo Morwaeng they were suspended from the BDP for calling for opposition to be given some of Specially Elected MPs seat.
He revealed that the trio met then Botswana National Front President Otsweletse Moupo and his deputy Olebile Gaborone, Dumelang Saleshando and Taolo Lucas from Botswana Congress Party to discuss the matter. He explained that Barata-Phathi at that time wanted the BDP to have two seats for Specially Elected MP, one for BNF and one for BCP. “We were holding such meetings at my house in Phakalane and we had Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services agents following us there for surveillance,” said Advocate Pilane adding that BDP Treasurer Satar Dada was sent to them to ask them to confess to this plan which they denied.
“Unfortunately Gaborone got confused and spilt the beans. That is how we ended up being suspended. Now having fought that much for the opposition why would I now want to destroy it? I am one of the people who worked behind the scenes to ensure that BCP is convinced into coming to the party and join Umbrella for Democratic Change. I spoke to BCP President Saleshando and Chairperson Motsei Rapelana for them to consider joining the coalition and today I am the bad guy.
“Our colleagues have now joined the enemy to vilify us. People hate us so much. What they are doing to us is nothing because Jesus experienced worst. We are not moved; they hate us because they fear us.
They want us to run but that would not happen. Batswana have asked for opposition unity and that is what we are here to give them as opposition parties. People should leave hatred and witchcraft out of the people’s project,” said Advocate Pilane.