BMD plunges into anarchy

Nicholas Mokwena
Tuesday, 02 May 2017
Gilbert Mangole Gilbert Mangole

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Botswana Movement for Democracy National Working Committee (BMD-NWC) meeting held this week Tuesday night ended chaotic in a near fistfight, as some party leaders were manhandled.
It is now evident that the moribund BMD National Executive Committee (BMD-NEC) continues to live in opposite planets with the party left with only two months to its make or break elective congress. Though at sometimes it is played under the table, the feud between party President Ndaba Gaolathe and his Deputy Wynter Mmolotsi on the one hand against the party Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General Gilbert Mangole on the other, shows no end in sight.

The working relationship between the two camps has soured the same month they were elected to office in Ghanzi two years ago. On the Tuesday meeting held in Gaborone, which was to deliberate on a decision made by the BMDYL National Executive Committee over the weekend to postpone their national congress, things turned nasty when the party leadership exchanged expletives. This is said to have resulted in Gaolathe’s bodyguards harassing and manhandling party secretary general and Chairman after the NWC meeting.

The NWC had invited the youth league to present their case to the committee and advance reasons for the postponement. At the meeting the BMD NWC endorsed the BMDYL NEC decision to postpone congress in the best interest of the party looking at the issues raised that could further divide and plunge the party into further crisis.

Prior to the chaos that happened in front of the party office, the leadership had a disagreement on the postponement. As it has always been the case, Mangole and Modubule were on the same page against Gaolathe and Mmolotsi. At the end the majority agreed to endorse the postponement. A highly-placed source who attended the meeting said: “Those are BMD members who are always in the company of the president. While the meeting was ongoing they were loitering around the party office while others were at the reception.

One of them asked the deputy secretary general to notify Modubule that he is wanted outside but Modubule ignored and continued with chairing the meeting. Their argument was that Mangole and Modubule are the ones fuelling factionalism within the movement. Things turned ugly after the meeting adjourned when Modubule and Mangole were manhandled.”

Another source who stated that a case has been registered with Gaborone Central Police Station, revealed that the leader of the gang (name withheld) manhandled Modubule and told him that they are going to teach them a lesson. Gaolathe is said to have come to Modubule’s rescue. When the strong BMD man, a former army man, let go of Modubule he then grabbed Mangole and dragged him towards the boundary wall of a house opposite the party office with the aim of bashing his head against the wall, the source said.

This is said to have happened in full view of the party president. At this time, Mmolotsi is said to have long excused himself from the meeting. Contacted for comment Wednesday afternoon, Party Secretary General Mangole confirmed that there was an unfortunate incident that involved him and his chairman. He revealed that they were confronted and manhandled. He said most of the men are always with Gaolathe hence some people regard them as presidential bodyguards.

“We do not know where they were coming from and who invited them because we did not invite them. It is true that the men threatened us with beating and also insulted us accusing us (Mangole and Modubule) of messing around with their party and they are prepared to teach us a lesson.  I am never threatened by any of the things that I experience but to be honest with you this time around I was very frightened I wouldn’t want to lie.
“The party National Organising Secretary Kabelo Mahupe is the one who rescued me from ‘seganka sele’ I would not want to discuss this matter any further because it is being handled by the police as we have reported it. It is a matter that would have to also be addressed by the party internally”.

Gaolathe could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was off. Gaborone Central Police Station Commander Superintendent Vincent Pitseetsile also could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of the office while his assistants were attending a lecture at the police station at the time of going to press. BMDYL Spokesperson Kagelelo Kentse, without going into details, stated in a media release that the incident where the secretary general and chairman were manhandled by presidential bodyguards on Tuesday night was unfortunate.

The BMD is said to have postponed the youth congress, as there were fears that the congress might turn violent. The Tuesday fight could be a warning sign that the party’s July elective congress could also turn chaotic thereby soiling the orange revolution’s reputation. The party has not yet announced which constituency will be hosting the congress which is expected to test BMD’s stability.

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