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Ndaba, Wynter rubbish suspensions

Publishing Date : 22 May, 2017


The factional battles brewing inside the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) have seen the developments taking ugly turn this week when a faction led by party Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule took  a decision to suspend the party president and his deputy.

But Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi have rubbished the suspension, saying the National Executive Committee (NEC) has no such powers. Repports suggest that the impromptu meeting called on Thursday night saw the Modubule controlled National Executive Committee (NEC) taking a decision to suspend Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi, the party president and vice president respectively.

It is reported that the decision was arrived at through voting. Gaolathe is said to have left the meeting immediately after the decision. Observers fear that the BMD conflict if not resolved quickly could hurt the chances of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) as it campaigns to take over power from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). But all eyes are now fixed on the proposed July elective congress of the BMD as the solution.

Meanwhile the BMD NEC also took a decision to suspend other party activist who attended the party youth league congress held in Ramotswa two weeks ago. This include former Youth League President Phenyo Segokgo, who is also Chairman of South East Council, Phenyo Butale (Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central), Haskins Nkaigwa (Member of Parliament for Gaborone North). The party also suspended National Organising Secretary Kabelo Mahupe and the Women’s Wing President Joyce Mothudi.

Gaolathe and Mmolotsi have both disregarded their suspensions since the NEC does not have powers to suspend or expel any member from the party. Gaolathe has said he will continue his duties as party president. Gaolathe and Mmolotsi are scheduled to address party members on Monday this coming week.

Mmolotsi who received the news while abroad has also denounced their suspension, saying it is only BMD members through congress who can relieve them from their duties. Mmolotsi said the Modubule/Mangole faction wants to undermine the decision of Ghanzi Congress where the leadership was elected.

Mmolotsi also expressed that the time frame in which the decision was taken shows clearly that it was meant to undermine Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) efforts in retaining the Tlokweng Constituency. “I want to state for the record that we have observed a consistent trend by some of our leaders to cause commotion every time there is a bye election. What is sad is that they wait for the last days so that their actions could affect the elections. It happened in Sekoma, Phillip Matante and now Tlokweng.

Nkaigwa has also dismmised the suspension talk as ploy to divert the attention from the ongoing Tlokweng bye-elections. The suspension of the leader of the other faction and their associaite havs been anticiapted. Following the Youth League congress, the Modubule/Mangole faction addressed a press conference where they stated that they are considering susepnding Ndaba and his camp.

Modubule and Mnagole had urged that the Youth League congress which was held in Ramotswa was unlawful and unconsitutional, while the Gaolathe faction where reportedly furnished with legal opion which upheld the decison to continue with the congress. Both faction have held two different opinions on the legality of their actions. Last years, the Modubule/Mangole led faction thwarted efforts by Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction to call a special congress, because they did not enjoy support.

Sidney Pilane, who has been at the centre of controversy was present at BMD office when the decision was taken. Pilane is not a member of NEC but remian a powerful figure in the Modubule camp and has reporteldy been pulling the strings for the faction. A liberal BMD constitution, which vests more powers on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), has made it difficult for the party to resolve the impasse as NEC members remain divided.

The adoption of a liberal constitution by BMD at the 2011 Inaugural Congress was motivated by the manner in which the late party leader, Motswaledi was suspended by President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama from his position as BDP Secretary General in 2009, a few weeks after being elected into the position at the party congress.  Pilane is the chief architect of BMD’s constitution. Pilane quit the party in 2012, a year after being defeated by Motswaledi for the party leadership at the party’s inaugural congress. It is reported that Pilane is also eyeing to contest the BMD presidency at the July Congress.



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