Botswana Movement for Democracy Chairman Nehemiah Modubule has defended the non-appearances of party leaser Sydney Pilane at the various rallies held by the party following their suspension from Umbrella for Democratic Change.Since the suspension Pilane has hardly been seen at any of the countrywide rallies designed to sell the party to the people. This has led people to doubt Pilane’s political intentions.
A furious Modubule rebutted the accusations during a political rally held in Francistown this past weekend as “mere rubbish” from naysayers. “Why not me rather than Pilane? As a party we have our own modus operandi and we are not going to be influenced by what critics say. Before any rally, we delegate members who are going to speak and as such no one can tell us what to decide at our political rallies”.
He said there is absolutely nothing wrong with their president not being seen at political rallies since they have capable individuals who can address rallies when he is attending to other engagements.Modubule told the rally that they have long responded to UDC demands and are currently continuing with their campaigns for the 2019 general elections since they know very well that they will be exonerated from the trumped charges by their coalition partners.
An inside source at BMD revealed that in the event UDC decides to part ways with BMD, trouble shall brew for the alliance as BMD is likely to challenge the decision in court thereby destabilising the UDC ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Policy Director Dr Tlamelo Mmatli is confident he will accomplish his ceasefire mission before the do or die party’s elective congress.
The elective congress billed for Bobonong in two-weeks’ time will be the biggest test for BMD’s stability ever since it was established in 2010. Even though the party has had its internal fights, things have never been this ugly. In an interview with Botswana Guardian this week, Dr Mmatli who is also MP for Molepolole South could not hide his disappointment at the current state of the Orange Movement.
He said he would continue calling for reconciliation even though he has attracted criticism and insults from fellow ‘Bakaulengwe’. He has been called names before but Dr Mmatli said he would not be shaken from what he believes is for the benefit of the party and not individuals.
“I am trying but people keep on saying I am not honest. They are just being dismissive and it is clear that they have already taken sides, which is not the right thing. We all can see that the party could split because of our differences but we have to save the party. We have to put the interest of the party ahead of our personal interests,” he pointed out.
Mmatli believes that the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the suspended members among them party President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi should meet halfway. He stated that since Gaolathe-Mmolotsi team and party Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Secretary General Gilbert Mangole-led camp are not in good terms they should both find a common mediator to resolve their differences before the congress. “I tried reaching out to the suspended members, but they have since shrugged off my plea to meet and discuss the matter.”
The suspended members have also indicated that they would not listen to Dr Mmatli because he is aligned to the Modubule-Mangole faction. Mmolotsi has indicated that Dr Mmatli cannot be calling for reconciliation while he knows exactly where he stands. In most of the meetings that the suspended members have addressed, Dr Mmatli’s efforts have been labelled as his own strategy to save face.
Mmolotsi said Dr Mmatli cannot divorce himself from Modubule and Mangole. “These three men are the ones that are destroying our party. The three Ms who are being controlled by a certain man from the shadows behind. We want our members to punish these men when we get to Bobonong. These are the men who are frustrating our efforts to build a bigger Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC),” he told a recent meeting they addressed.
Dr Mmatli however explained that as the BMD leadership they want to see UDC flourish since BMD is a key component of the UDC. “It takes two to tango. I am not surprised that the suspended members are dismissing my efforts. I would continue to talk to other members of the party who may one way or the other reach out to them and convince them to see the bigger picture. Even when the party was divided last year over whether a special congress should be held or not my attempts were dismissed by others”, said Dr Mmatli adding that even though he has other engagements such as being part of the Congress Preparatory Committee.
He explained that people should not confuse the decision taken by NEC to suspend the members and his efforts for reconciliation. He said having been part of the NEC and National Working Committee that took a decision and endorsed the decision respectively, it does not mean that as a BMD member in good standing he could not call for cease fire.
Dr Mmatli pointed out that he is bound by the decision taken by the party leadership as the majority believed that suspensions should be enforced on the affected members. In one of the meetings held in Molepolole vice president Wynter Mmolotsi revealed that if the Modubule-led NEC does not come to them before the congress to apologise for humiliating the party president and other party leaders with suspension letters, when they get to Bobonong they would call for variation of agenda items.
“Agenda item number one would be suspensions and we would call on the congress to set aside the suspensions then party president would chair the congress”, said Mmolotsi. But Dr Mmatli believes that even during reconciliation suspension could be lifted. He explained that with the mediator involved it would not be about who won among the warring factions but the party is the one that emerges victorious. “I will continue to talk to Bakaulengwe with mutual respect because we will not always agree on everything but it does not mean we have to disrespect or insult others”, he stated. Gaolathe-Mmolotsi led faction has however maintained that Dr Mmatli’s self-acclaimed efforts are long overdue.
Ndaba’s ‘bodyguards’ assault Mangole, Modubule
‘I was very frightened I wouldn’t want to lie’- Mangole
July elective congress may become the bloodiest in the history of the Orange Revolution
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.