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Pilane-led BMD rejects Dibeela

Publishing Date : 06 September, 2017


The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) faction led by Advocate Sidney Pilane will reject the participation of Botswana National Front (BNF) Vice President Dr Prince Dibeela in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) hearings into the BMD impasse.

The Pilane-led National Executive Committee (NEC) chairman, Nehemiah Modubule told this publication that they will formally register their rejection of Dibeela’s presence because they see him as conflicted on account of his close ties with the Ndaba Gaolathe-led NEC. Modubule alleged that Dibeela has been in the habit of accompanying their rivals on numerous activities, something they view as an indictment on his objectivity and impartiality.

To prove his point he stated that Dibeela has attended the Letlhabile meeting called by the Gaolathe faction on the 21st of May, weeks prior to the chaotic Tonota congress. He further alleged that Dibeela was also present at a Maitisong function on the 3rd of August, where Gaolathe gave a speech as well as on the 6th of August at The Big Five Lodge in Mogoditshane at Gomolemo Motswaledi’s commemoration. He further said that they will provide their reasons for their request for Dibeela to stand down at a set date.

The Gaolathe camp is racing against time while the Pilane camp seems to be moving at its own pace, all in a calculated struggle for supremacy. The Pilane-led NEC has asked that their hearing be deferred to September while the Gaolathe-led camp has in the same breadth issued an ultimatum to UDC that a determination on the impasse be rendered by 31st August.  “Of course, we will surely ask that he stand down. He can’t attend. That is a given because he is conflicted,” said Modubule said matter of factly.

Furthermore, he said that they have sought a postponement of their appearance before the UDC panel because Pilane is currently in the United States of America. He also denied that the request of the postponement of their appearance is not a delay tactic to frustrate or scuttle their rivals’ next moves, stating that Pilane’s trip to the US had long been confirmed before the letters of appearance were received. The Pilane NEC was supposed to appear before a UDC panel at Oasis Motel on Wednesday.

The Gaolathe NEC had appeared the previous day where they allegedly gave documentary and oral evidence to bolster their case in the drawn our struggle for legitimacy of BMD leadership. UDC also released a statement, through secretary general Moeti Mohwasa calling for restraint by both BMD factions. It also stated that the appearance by BMD went smoothly:

“On 22nd August, the NEC met with the Ndaba Gaolathe led team and received their version of the genesis of the BMD conflicts.  The meeting was characterised by comradely frankness and sincere engagement on the nature and extent of the conflict. To the extent that the NEC was presented with a full narration of what the group perceives to be the key areas of tension, we are satisfied that the meeting achieved the purpose for which it was convened,” Mohwasa said. 

Mohwasa also continued to say that UDC NEC is hopeful that the meeting with Pilane-led NEC will proceed in the same manner, stating: “On the 4th of September, the NEC will meet the Pilane led team of the BMD.  Like the meeting of 22nd August, the primary purpose of the meeting will be to accord the group an opportunity to present its views on the root problems that have bedevilled the BMD.  We have no doubt that the meeting will proceed smoothly as the team has accepted our intervention.”
However, Gaolathe-led BMD expressed exasperation at the postponement characterising, it as a lack of seriousness by the Pilane camp.

A statement released by Dr Phenyo Butale this week read in part: “It was therefore disheartening, to be informed at the UDC meeting, that the other group, who were supposed to appear the following day, 23rd August 2017, had indicated that they would only be available between the 4th  and the 6th of September. We wish to register our concern at this lack of urgency and commitment to a speedy resolution of this matter, and reiterate our position that any sluggish approach to this matter should be viewed as counter-productive and self-defeating.” Dibeela could not be reached by press time as his mobile rang unanswered.



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