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BMD wars may head to court

Publishing Date : 15 August, 2017


The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) is currently experiencing serious internal strife as two factions fight for the control of the party. Now there are reports that the aggrieved group wants to challenge the recent cancellation of the Youth League congress in court because it finds it unconstitutional.  

Jacob Kelebeng was expected to take on current Youth League spokesperson, Kagelelo Banks Kentse for the position of BMD Youth League president. Kelebeng is seen as being sympathetic to the Ndaba Gaolathe and Wynter Mmolotsi axis while Kentse is a friend to the Nehemiah Modubule and Gilbert Mangole group.

Following the postponement of the planned Youth League congress that was scheduled for Ramotswa this weekend, the warring parties’ differences were reignited, prompting a scuffle at the party’s National Working Committee meeting that resulted in the alleged assault of party chairman, Nehemiah Modubule and secretary general, Gilbert Mangole by the “presidential body guards”.

The incumbent BMDYL committee decided to postpone the congress because of lack of funds and lack of a complete register of delegates for the congress among other reasons. Paramount, this publication is told, there are fears that there could be “blood on the floor” because of the differences between the two BMDYL camps aligned to the National Executive Committee factions.

The two groups, one led by party President, Ndaba Gaolathe and Vice President, Wynter Mmolotsi and the other by Modubule and Mangole are so parallel that they operate from two separate offices to run party affairs. On the other hand, some members from the Gaolathe side have stopped paying their subscriptions to the party head office.

Gaolathe/Mmolotsi axis had at some point pushed to have a special congress last year, but they were not successful. The intent of the special congress was to remove Modubule-Mangole and company from the leadership of the party. The Gaolathe-Mmolotsi camp was also against the re-admission of Advocate Sydney Pilane as a member of the BMD, but could not succeed either because he had the backing of the majority of the National Executive Committee.  

Pilane was seen as eyeing the presidency of the BMD and speculation was rife that he wants to challenge Gaolathe. But things have progressed since then, with the Modubule-Mangole camp falling out with Pilane and reports suggests they have openly told him they do not want him to contest the presidency of the BMD. Insiders insist that Pilane and the Modubule camp are not on the same page anymore.

BMD is expected to hold an elective congress in July this year and fears are that the party is going for a bloody show down. Some observers blame the BMD problems on its liberal constitution which has spread powers to a cumbersome committee. Others posit that the problem lies in greed as the jostle for power will never end. The BMD is a splinter group from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

The BMD is a significant partner in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which is led by Botswana National Front (BNF) president Duma Boko. Gaolathe is the first Vice President of the coalition. The other Vice President is Dumelang Saleshando of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).



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