President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi bid farewell to Ambassador designate to the United States of America Kitso Mokaila and High Commissioner designate to India Gilbert Mangole.The two newly appointed  are retired  politicians who served in the 2014 -2019 Parliament. Mokaila is also former cabinet minister.

Mangole, a former opposition Member of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Mokaila will leave any  day from next week depending on the availability of flight connections to their respective destinations. Giving them his final word before they depart, Masisi told them individually that he was very glad that they have acceded to his request to go and serve our country at high positions. He sad he appointed Mokaila to represent the interests of the presidency and this country. "You know the history between Botswana and the USA countries and its people go back a long way.

"Over the years we had enormous projects that we have undertaken with the Americans and skipping over the major projects in the sectors of water, education, infrastructure, human capital development. "There is hardly anybody in senior management in government who did not study and benefitted from the USA". He implored Mokaila to focus his attention on cultivating very warm fraternal and mutually beneficial relationship with the American peoples and to promote Botswana's wildlife and economy given his experience, expertise and contacts.

Mokaila, a former minister of mineral and energy, is well acquainted with the diamond sector and Kimberlite process and hence is the best candidate to promote the country's minerals. Masisi reiterated that his government is committed  to transforming Botswana’s economy to a knowledge based economy. He said USA  is one of the most successful spheres  of influence in the knowledge economy space, they have got the infrastructure , human , financial capital assistance necessary to learn from and collaborate with.

He said Mokaila's whole term will be occupied with doing that, whether, it is in the agric space for our beef, our crops and vegetables or fishes , our wild game products ,diamonds , coal ,copper or whatever  may come out if the value edition. In response  Mokaila  said it  is an honour and privilege  to be given this opportunity to serve the country. "I can only pledge to do my  best specifically to  the tourism, ITC  I go there  knowing that I am armed  enough".

Turning to Mangole, Masisi said Botswana and India have many commonalties chief among which is the parliamentary – minister influence of democratic dispensation. “Now that you are a public servant, it is my hope that with the skills and talents that you have, particularly in the field of economic trade, you can advance Botswana’s interests”. He said Botswana and India have very strong relations in the diamond space.

"As Botswana we have the resources, but India has the funds and the population, " he said. In response Mangole said he was shocked to receive a call from the president. I never expected what was to come out but when you imparted a request to me and my wife, I felt so honoured   that given the recent interactions in the political space you  found it fit nonetheless  to appoint me to high office. "Let me assure you that I will do my best to fulfil the mandate that you bestowed upon me.

"The bottom line is I am a Motswana first I will do everything in my power of course within the bounds of human error to do my best to serve the country and not disappoint you. "I am very much looking forward to your state visit in India and let me assure you that once that becomes possible, I am sure we will have taken one or two steps" .














Published in News

Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has rubbished claims by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) lawyers that they are delaying their expulsion case. Early this week UDC lawyers led by Dick Bayford accused the BMD for delaying the case which was supposed to have been heard by the high court on Monday this week.

Bayford also told the media that the BMD would not stop the current UDC to use its symbol during this year’s general elections. The standoff between the UDC and BMD could cast an ugly spectre for opposition and confusion among voters in the 2019 polls. The BMD has stood firm that should the matter not be completed before elections all UDC contracting partners would go solo.  The party revealed on Wednesday that it is campaigning for its 13 constituencies allocated while still member of the UDC in two phases both as the BMD and as the BMD of the UDC.

The party argues that it should not be blamed for the delay of the case because it acted within the law since the inception of the case. BMD Acting Secretary General Tseleng Botlhole said the BMD acted perfectly reasonable throughout in terms of the Rules of the High Court. “Bayford lied when he said the BMD delayed in bringing the case. The BMD is not responsible for the delay that occurred. UDC and its leader Advocate Duma Boko are the only ones who are responsible for the delay, and the delays were deliberate. “The court papers were served to them in December 14th 2018.

They did nothing until 25th of February 2019. When the High Court allocated 2th April for the hearing of the case, Bayford wrote a letter saying that the date did not suit them. We were ready at that time for the case,” Botlhole told the media.  She dismissed the claims by UDC attorneys that BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane admitted to having delayed the case and begged the judges for a fresh date.“The BMD did not bring the case on urgency because there was nothing urgent about it. The case, having been brought in December 2018 could be heard and decided long before the elections, the only date that matters and is decisive.

“If the BMD had brought the case on urgency, it would have correctly been dismissed with costs as was Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s case incompetently brought by Bayford,” she said.  Advocate Pilane said the judges had suggested the 11th and 12 of June this year but because the UDC was not ready they could not proceed. He expressed doubt that the UDC was ready for the case even a week before because “they are fond of lying. Even Bayford has joined them in lying as a lawyer.”The BMD leader pointed out that the UDC should be prepared for a fight. He promised to end the bragging that is always displayed by the UDC members and their leaders.

“The president of the country can call snap elections. He can call them even next month. When that happens, we will ensure that no member of the coalition will go to the polls using the UDC symbol.  “BMD will contest on its own so will Botswana Congress Party, Botswana National Front and Botswana People’s Party.  “We will act as necessary depending on what comes our way. We are going to humble them because we also know that we will win the court case,” said Advocate Pilane.

Published in Northren Extra

Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) will not give their colleagues at Umbrella for Democratic Change a walk in the park in their legal battle. BMD has taken UDC to court after it was expelled from the coalition by the UDC last year. The case which was to start this week Monday failed as UDC senior Counsel could not attend the case due to other commitments.

The case which has been marred by controversy over presiding judicial officers is scheduled to be heard at Gaborone High Court in August 27th and 28th this year for argument. UDC expelled BMD from its fold last year only to remain with three contracting partners- Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). This resulted in BMD launching the application for review and setting aside of their expulsion from the UDC. While the BMD is set to fight tooth and nail to be declared a member of the UDC in good standing, the UDC has maintained it would not contest this year’s general elections with BMD as its member. 

BMD President Advocate Sidney Pilane has accused the UDC of applying delaying tactics so that this year’s general elections would be held with the case having not been concluded.  “We are ready and have always been ready. The UDC wants to delay the case. We fully know their intentions but we would not allow them to dictate terms to us.  “We would do all in our power with all available avenues to ensure that we are not abused,” Advocate Pilane told members of the media after the adjournment of the case. 

According to Advocate Pilane if the matter is not concluded before the general election, the BMD would move to court on urgency to request that no party should be allowed to use the UDC symbol.  He said the remaining contracting members of the UDC will have to come up with another symbol or would have to use their individual symbols.

However UDC President Advocate Boko on the other hand explained that their campaigns would go on as planned and the case will not hamper them.  He told the media and UDC supporters that what BMD is seeking would not derail them. According to Advocate Boko they have dealt with BMD politically and are now ready to deal with the party legally.  He said the UDC legal team is more than ready to take the BMD head on. “We have three judges in the case and we had to reconcile our dates especially with our advocate, which is why we have settled for August because we all had to look at our diaries.  “We would be back here to deal with the matter legally and put it to rest.

We have dealt with it politically. We would not be derailed; we are marching on. Do not be misled by people, the campaign is on and nothing will stop us,” said the UDC leader.  He stated that his deputy Dumelang Saleshando is busy with the party manifesto and it would soon be ready to be presented in Maun to party members.  Advocate Boko said as the UDC they are not in any hurry because they are not the ones who brought the case to court but are only responding to what has been brought to court by the BMD. 

He feels that there is nothing wrong that they have done in expelling the BMD because they have followed all the necessary procedures as is required. The UDC leader stated that last year he threatened to resign if BMD was expelled without following laid down procedures.

Published in News

“There are no political hermaphrodites”, says former two-time Member of Parliament for Gaborone West South, Robert Molefhabangwe, as he unravels the riddle of the collapsing Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

Endowed with the gift of the gab and without doubt, one of the finest MPs that ever graced the hallowed halls of Botswana’s Parliament, Bob, has never been a fan of the opposition coalition (UDC) – as constituted in its current form. “It would have been by sheer and mere luck if this coalition had borne any positive fruits,” he said in a recent interview. And indeed, Bob has consistently argued against this coalition, perhaps taking comfort from the benefit of hindsight.

Just a fortnight ago, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), was expelled from the opposition coalition, UDC, following a prolonged topsy-turvy, relationship. The coalition now remains with three partners – Botswana National Front; Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).

Ahead of the 2014 general elections in which the UDC performed admirably, garnering a historic 17 Members of Parliament in the absence of the BCP – Molefhabangwe warned that the coalition model was akin to building castles in the air. Looking back on his time capsule, he concedes that Opposition MPs did increase post 2014 general elections, but contrary to popular belief he insists it was not on account of the coming together of the opposition parties.

Two things – the Botswana Democratic Party protest vote against the split that bequaethed BMD - and secondly the sympathy vote for “my nephew” – Gomolemo Motswaledi, the BMD leader who died in a freak car accident just before the general elections – were responsible for that gallant performance by opposition. But today as we approach the 2019 general elections without these factors, Molefhabangwe posits a rhetorical question, “Where are we”?

Somehow, he has an answer for it. He fears that on account of the flawed basis of the coalition, which was not a unity of the united, opposition activists risk becoming “opportunistic politicians” in like manner with opportunistic diseases that prey and fester on viruses. For example he wonders what the Opposition parties would talk about if John Kalafatis were not killed or if the National Petroleum Fund scandal was not exposed or better still, if one eligible bachelor had married?

Simple minds discuss people while serious minds discuss issues, he says, explaining that; “We (Opposition) failed to concentrate our minds on issues and wasted our time on trivial pursuits”.  So, from the get-go, Molefhabangwe contends that the coalition template that produced the UDC was flawed because the constituent members – however desperate their ideological persuasions – never bothered to subject themselves to a value system or minimum programme of action to undergird their unity.

If ever they did, he says it was cosmetic, because as the Greek philosopher, Plato, says ‘Unity is for the united’ – hence a united people cannot be shaken. But, as current developments prove, the UDC partners do not respect each other; they do not like each other nor defer to each other, neither do they want to be reconciled to each other.

This group has failed to agree on an approach to tackle their common enemy – which is Batswana’s poverty in the midst of wealth; a deteriorating education system and the growing trend in which Batswana are being dispossesed of their land and turned into serfs and labourers in the ranches and farms of foreigners and the local elite. How then can a group that is not united hope to form any unity, asks Molefhabangwe and what assurance can such a group give people that it will be united at elections time? 

The verdict: “It is better to disperse now and never to unite again,” he says because such a group cannot hope to form a government. Molefhabangwe's two terms in Parliament spanned 1999 to 2009. He inherited Gaborone South constituency from Paul Rantao following the 2004 delimitation, the constituency was renamed Gaborone West South.

Today the constituency is known as Gaborone Bonnignton South and is represented by President of Alliance for Progressives (AP), Ndaba Gaolathe – son of the late former Minister of Finance Development Planning and long time BDP MP, Baledzi Gaolathe.AP is a breakaway party of the BMD, which also broke away from the BDP over disgruntlement with the then party leader, Lt. Gen. Ian Khama’s administration style.

In the same breath, the BCP is a breakaway of the BNF and Molefhabangwe believes it is time that evreybody must “go back home” (Mongwe le mongwe a a boele ga mmaagwe).

Published in News
Monday, 15 October 2018 09:42

BMD plans war on UDC

Embattled Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has vowed to take the war to its coalition partners in Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) following its suspension from the coalition in a bid to protect its constituencies.

BMD which is expected to make representation before the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) on Thursday next week has come up with a strategy to counter their colleagues in the UDC being Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) who are allegedly getting themselves ready to pounce on BMD’s 13 constituencies should the party be expelled from the UDC.

Currently there is a stalemate between BMD and UDC NEC regarding the suspension. BMD has rejected the suspension and made demands to the UDC President Advocate Duma Boko and according to information gathered, Advocate Boko has not responded to the demands put forward by the BMD. Following this development BMD NEC called a meeting with all prospective candidates to discuss the issue this past Sunday.

Botswana Guardian gathered that at the meeting, which took the whole day and was addressed by party leader Advocate Sidney Pilane, candidates expressed disappointment in the way the leadership of the UDC is treating the BMD. Some members of the party have called on the party leadership to unleash an attack on the BCP and BNF.

The intention is that should the UDC NEC go ahead and expel the BMD then the BMD should also target constituencies of their colleagues even if it means the trio losing in the 2019 general elections. The contention at the meeting was that there are a few greedy individuals within the UDC especially at leadership level who are preying on BMD constituencies. These leaders both from BCP and BNF are currently without constituencies and are only banking on the constituencies held by the BMD.

The BMD according to insiders would not allow itself to be a scapegoat and is prepared to fight tooth and nail for its legitimate rights.Sources who attended the highly charged Sunday meeting revealed that the BMD is prepared to go all the way to prove its point. If push comes to shove, the party will get candidates to challenge most of the UDC leadership at their constituencies including the leader of the coalition movement.

Failure to secure candidates the BMD is said to be prepared to support other political parties with other members at the meeting calling for the support of candidates of their splinter Alliance for Progressives (AP). Another meeting is scheduled to be held tomorrow (Saturday) where other issues would be finalised. The BMD has also come up with a series of in-house meetings and public rallies to counter what has been done by Advocate Boko and one of his deputies Dumelang Saleshando who is also President of the BCP.

BMD kickstarted this process with a rally in Mochudi last week. The party has also indicated that it would not make representation before the UDC NEC next week if it has not been furnished with the documents that they requested from Advocate Boko being, minutes and attendance register of the meeting that took the decision to suspend the BMD.

Advocate Boko has stated that the suspension is meant for the BMD to introspect following feedback from UDC members and the public that showed that the BMD leader was resented. He stated that the BMD constituencies remain under the care of the party but all UDC activities would continue in those constituencies.

In an interview BMD Chairman Nehemiah Modubule said he has not heard of any news regarding the scramble for their constituencies. As for the Sunday meeting he said, “As the BMD we hold meetings from time to time.” He confirmed that another meeting would be held tomorrow (Saturday) with candidates. After that they will decide a way forward about other meetings and public rallies.

Published in News
Monday, 23 July 2018 11:34

UDC on the brink of collapse

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), a coalition between four Botswana opposition parties, is on the brink of collapse following key resolutions made by two of the main contracting parties over the weekend.UDC president, Duma Boko is now facing mounting pressure to either let the coalition collapse and let his party, the Botswana National Front initiate talks with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) or unite the warring parties within the umbrella parties—a union dubbed the ‘Peoples Project’.

UDC is an alliance between the Botswana National Front (BNF), BCP, Botswana Peoples Party (BCP) and the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). However it has not been a smooth ride for the contracting parties as they constantly fought about the adoption of an amended constitution and allocation of constituencies.BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando said at the weekend in Bobobong that, “there is no denying that the UDC is broken and needs to be fixed.” He was addressing his party’s 10th National Conference.
The BCP president, who is also the vice president of UDC, told his party members that a new UDC constitution was submitted last Friday to the Department of Civil and National Registration, claims which the BMD and BPP said they were not aware of.

Saleshando said the new constitution was signed by him and Boko. “The question that this conference has to address is how the UDC can be fixed?” said the BCP leader on Saturday. By Monday the conference had given Saleshando all the answers to his questions. The conference resolved that the BCP should remain in the UDC, but directed that due to limited time before registration for the general election, all outstanding matters within the UDC should be resolved by mid-August 2018.The conference also resolved that all constituencies and wards allocated to the BMD except those currently held by their Members of Parliament and councillors should be returned to the UDC for redistribution, a matter which also does not bode well with the BMD.

The party’s spokesperson Winfred Rasina told the Botswana Guardian this week that the BMD has already given away constituencies and they are not willing to give anymore. The BCP argues that UDC has to accept that there has been a split within the BMD following the formation of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and thus the BMD is now weak hence the issue of constituency allocation should be re-looked at and re-allocated to the BNF or BCP.Even though he was of the view that resolutions made by the BCP and the BNF over the weekend need to be tabled before the UDC for further discussion, Rasina said the BCP should also be willing to forfeit some of its constituencies otherwise they will be defeating the purpose of unity and working together.

The BNF has resolved that primary elections should be held in some of the constituencies allocated to the BMD. Regarding the constitution submitted on Friday last week Rasina said the BMD was not party to it. “Our hope is that they have submitted the right constitution,” said Rasina. According to him the right constitution has a provision for two vice presidents within the UDC. However, Saleshando told journalists in Bobonong that the amended constitution has a provision for only one vice president.
“Then they submitted the wrong constitution, maybe it was a mistake from their part,” said Rasina in response to the developments. The BMD spokesperson said the party’s National Working Committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss the matter and make appropriate decisions.

According to sources, the UDC constitutional congress which was held in February this year resolved that there be only one vice president instead of two. “They excluded themselves (BMD). They walked out of a meeting that was reviewing the final document because they said they don’t recognise the congress (February UDC congress) resolutions,” said a UDC insider. The source confided to this publication that during the period between 17th May and 20th June UDC made four attempts to meet, but in all these it was only the BCP and BNF representatives who attended.

“Although BPP expressed willingness to attend for some unknown reasons they did not pitch up.The one and only meeting attended by the BMD was on the 25th June 2018 at the offices of the BNF. However the BMD representatives had three objections to the meeting proceeding,” he said. Apparently the BMD argued that the meeting ought to have been convened by the UDC president with clear terms of reference. As a result they will not participate; that the constitution that was discussed at the February congress is not the proper constitution, as the proper constitution is the one produced by the constitutional stream and that they do not recognise the congress as it was meant to humiliate the BMD and it could not lawfully take the resolutions it took.

Said an insider, “We then advised the BMD that we will proceed in terms of the mandate and as we understand it. The BMD team then left the meeting.”  Reached for comment BPP President, Motlatsi Molapisi claimed to be in the dark regarding the constitution submitted last week. Molapisi, who maintained that his party has never missed a UDC meeting, said the issue of the constitution was supposed to be finalised at a retreat which was supposed to be held on the 1st to the 3rd of June, but the retreat was never held.
Molapisi could not be drawn into discussing resolutions by the BCP and BNF—the two parties with the largest following within the contracting partners in the UDC.

What is clear now is that there are major differences between the political parties forming the UDC. Saleshando said this week that even though they will try to fix the UDC problems within a month, his party will start direct talks with the BNF forthwith to try to “reconfigure and rethink opposition cooperation.”“We are first going to focus on fixing the UDC, if we can’t fix the UDC, conference has resolved that we must engage the BNF on finding a new formula for 2019,” he said. The BCP is of the view that the opposition votes that the UDC hopes to attract in 2019 are concentrated around the BNF and BCP and thus the two parties have more to lose by not going into 2019 election as a single unit.

Published in News

South East District Council Chairman Phenyo Segokgo has promised that he will announce his next political home next week Monday.

Segokgo admitted to have kept people guessing for a very long time following his expulsion from the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) together with Ndaba Gaolathe, Wynter Mmolotsi, Joyce Mothudi, Pako Keogilwe and Harriet Snowy Rampa. 

When Gaolathe and others formed the Alliance for Progressives (AP) following the bloody Bobonong congress, many had expected Segokgo to defect to the new party only for the youthful councillor to hold his cards close to his chest leaving people in suspense about his next political home. 

Neither could a planned motion of no confidence by some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) councillors dampen his spirit nor force him to make his announcement prematurely. 

At some point, Segokgo was said to be on his way to join BNF or BDP in order to save his political career.

“Currently, I have made up my mind as to which party I am going to join and I will be meeting with all my councillors this Friday to inform them of my next political home. 

“Although I will not divulge to you where I am headed at this point, I will make an official announcement probably next week Monday,” Segokgo explained. 

The decision to announce his next home will end months of speculation since he was expelled from BMD.

Published in News
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 13:16

UDC in disarray

It is now official; Botswana Movement for Democracy virus has spread into the opposition coalition - Umbrella for Democratic Change whose leadership appears divided over the Orange Movement.

Contracting partners of the UDC- Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) this week Wednesday held a scheduled meeting at Oasis Hotel in Tlokweng to discuss among others, the problems afflicting their colleague, the BMD. 

The BMD is currently paralysed after the party held parallel elective congresses in Bobonong where two different National Executive Committees were elected.

On Wednesday a fractured UDC executive committee met at Oasis to deliberate on the BMD issue. Botswana Guardian can safely confirm that BPP was not part of the meeting. Only the BCP and the BNF convened in the meeting that started at 10:30AM and was adjourned at 12:30PM. 

The meeting was attended by among others BNF President Duma Boko and Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and UDC’s Treasurer Dennis Alexander and Taolo Lucas who is UDC’s additional member from the BCP.

According to the current UDC agreement, each party has been given one slot for an additional member to the UDC Executive Committee. It has since emerged that the BPP snubbed the meeting in support of the expelled BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe. 

Gaolathe has been expelled together with his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi. According to sources, the Gaolathe faction met on Tuesday night in Gaborone at Falcon Crest and agreed with BPP to snub Wednesday’s UDC meeting. 

The possibility of forming a new party was discussed at the aforesaid meeting. BPP, especially its leader Motlatsi Molapisi, is a known staunch supporter of Gaolathe. It is said that at the Tuesday meeting the Gaolathe-led faction promised to work with BPP once a new party is formed. The Gaolathe faction has left three options open; going to court; wait for UDC intervention or form a new party.

The majority agreed that they should wait for the outcome of the UDC leadership but if it does not favour them then a new party should be formed. The meeting came after Gaolathe BMD NEC addressed party members this past weekend. Out of the 12 addressed regions, nine (9) called for the formation of a new party, Botswana Guardian has established.

Speaking to Botswana Guardian over the phone after the meeting BPP President who is also UDC Chairman claimed ignorance of the meeting. “I am in Francistown as we speak and I know nothing about the meeting. I was never informed about the meeting. Mohwasa only called me this morning asking how far I am and I told him I know nothing about the meeting or even the agenda,” said the veteran politician. 

He dismissed claims that they snubbed the meeting because they are in support of Gaolathe. He stated that the reason why there is even no one other than him from the BPP attending the meeting clearly shows that there was no communication to the BPP about the meeting. Molapisi has been vocal about the need for intervention by UDC leadership in the BMD mess.

UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa confirmed that BPP did not make it to the meeting. Mohwasa however said there could have been a misunderstanding of the invitations to the meeting. 

“When I enquired they explained that they did not understand the context of the communication. They said they did not know if only presidents are to attend or all members of the executive should attend,” said Mohwasa. 

The UDC spokesperson stated that the BMD matter formed part of the agenda but could not be dealt with because the BPP was not in attendance. He explained that BMD could not be part of the meeting because of the party’s current situation. 

“So our next meeting would be held on the 12th of August in Francistown where the BMD matter would be discussed. The only thing we discussed about the BMD issue is that on top of receiving two reports from both groups, we have also received a letter from the other group from its Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale asking for UDC intervention. So what would be happening (is that) we would be writing to the other group to inform them about this development and ask for their input,” said Mohwasa adding that all the three parties will attend the Francistown meeting.

BMD-Gaolathe led NEC Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale could not be reached for comment at press time. Part of the problems that the UDC is facing is disagreements between BCP and BMD which date back to 2012. Under the current arrangement BMD is said to have been against BCP joining the UDC. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when the BCP was given the 17 constituencies and Vice Presidency of the UDC. 

At one point when BPP wanted three of BCP’s constituencies it was alleged to be acting in cahoots with BMD with the aim that BPP would later hand them to BMD. BPP enjoyed the support of the BMD during the first Umbrella negotiations, which founded UDC in 2012. BMD at that time was said to have been considering having BPP under its wing through group membership.

 

Published in News
Thursday, 03 August 2017 08:37

UDC in disarray

It is now official; Botswana Movement for Democracy virus has spread into the opposition coalition - Umbrella for Democratic Change whose leadership appears divided over the Orange Movement.

Contracting partners of the UDC- Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) this week Wednesday held a scheduled meeting at Oasis Hotel in Tlokweng to discuss among others, the problems afflicting their colleague, the BMD. 

The BMD is currently paralysed after the party held parallel elective congresses in Bobonong where two different National Executive Committees were elected.

On Wednesday a fractured UDC executive committee met at Oasis to deliberate on the BMD issue. Botswana Guardian can safely confirm that BPP was not part of the meeting. Only the BCP and the BNF convened in the meeting that started at 10:30AM and was adjourned at 12:30PM. 

The meeting was attended by among others BNF President Duma Boko and Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and UDC’s Treasurer Dennis Alexander and Taolo Lucas who is UDC’s additional member from the BCP.

According to the current UDC agreement, each party has been given one slot for an additional member to the UDC Executive Committee. It has since emerged that the BPP snubbed the meeting in support of the expelled BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe. 

Gaolathe has been expelled together with his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi. According to sources, the Gaolathe faction met on Tuesday night in Gaborone at Falcon Crest and agreed with BPP to snub Wednesday’s UDC meeting. 

The possibility of forming a new party was discussed at the aforesaid meeting. BPP, especially its leader Motlatsi Molapisi, is a known staunch supporter of Gaolathe. It is said that at the Tuesday meeting the Gaolathe-led faction promised to work with BPP once a new party is formed. The Gaolathe faction has left three options open; going to court; wait for UDC intervention or form a new party.

The majority agreed that they should wait for the outcome of the UDC leadership but if it does not favour them then a new party should be formed. The meeting came after Gaolathe BMD NEC addressed party members this past weekend. Out of the 12 addressed regions, nine (9) called for the formation of a new party, Botswana Guardian has established.

 

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Published in News
Monday, 31 July 2017 11:33

Has Boko dumped Ndaba?

Contrary to claims in opposition circles that leader of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Advocate Duma Boko is leaning towards his vice President Ndaba Gaolathe, there seems to be a shift.

There has been a belief that ever since the fracas at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) played out in the open its President Ndaba Gaolathe who has been at loggerheads with his National Executive Committee (NEC) could be enjoying the support of Boko. 

Boko who is also the President of Botswana National Front (BNF) this week could not say it in many words or in specifics his disagreement with Gaolathe in dealing with the BMD mess. Reading into his message this week when addressing members of the media, Boko is a firm believer of defending the Constitution- be it of the country or an organisation.

The mess at BMD has resulted in the political movement having two NECs following two parallel elective congresses held in Bobonong over the President’s Holidays. Gaolathe leads one while Advocate Sidney Pilane leads the other. The two factions last week submitted their reports and list of NEC members to the UDC to be recognised. 

Seized with the two reports, Advocate Boko said the UDC would now be dealing with the matter to resolve it. The Pilane led NEC has indicated that Gaolathe together with his Vice, Wynter Mmolotsi and others were suspended and subsequently expelled from the party in accordance with the party Constitution. At that time party Chairman who stated that he is the defender of the Constitution revealed that Gaolathe and company had violated the Constitution and no one is bigger than the BMD and its Constitution. 

In contrast, Gaolathe and his team believed in having political engagement with the masses. They explained that their focus would be to address the members on the status of the party rather than to focus on the Constitution. Their argument was that the congress would deal with the differences within the party.After the Bobonong events many still believed the UDC leader could favour the Gaolathe led NEC in any form. Things came out clear this week when Boko indicated that leaders should always ensure that they are not involved in any entanglement. “This is because when those who are fighting have to come to you for solution, you would not be able to assist. You would not assist the situation because you are already conflicted,” said Advocate Boko. 

He explained that what is happening at BMD once happened at BNF and he managed to defend the organisation within and even at the courts of law. “We have to look at what the law is saying before we consider the political side of the matter. We have to conduct ourselves in accordance with the Constitution. When we had problems at BNF I was pounding on the facts and the law. 

“As a leader I have to not be involved in any faction. I have to stay clean because these things would come to me so I would have to not be aligned so that I would focus on facts. If you are in the thick of it then you cannot see things through. Do not descend into the arena of conflict. As a leader you have to separate feelings from what the constitutional dispensation says,” said Boko.

He explained that his assignment at the BMD would not be to dismember the organisation. He said his mission, as the BNF leader is to unite the opposition parties hence his firm belief that the UDC leadership would be able to put an end to the BMD current situation. Advocate Boko has defended his stance on the constitutional obligation saying he is not overrating the law.

“We are in bondage to the law even though we might not like it. The law governs everything about us. The law allows what can you do or not do. We are slaves of the law. The law is already over bearing on us so we must understand that. We are taking cognisance of the law and not overrating it,” he stated. While the Pilane-led faction believes in remaining faithful to the constitution their counterparts have maintained that the constitution is a piece of paper that can be tossed aside in favour of political action. It was further argued that in the build-up to the Bobonong congress, party Chairman Nehemiah Modubule was focusing on the constitution at the expense of the interests of BMD masses.

The BMD situation got out of hand after the youth congress that was held in Ramotswa in April this year which was said to be unlawful. The congress resulted in Gaolathe and others being suspended from the party and the suspended undertook meetings across the country dismissing their suspensions and pleading with party members to heavily punish Modubule and company by voting them out of office at the Bobonong congress. It was argued that it was wrong for NEC to suspend and expel the party president. Modubule maintained that they were following laid down party procedure.

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