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Pilane to surrender BMD presidency

Publishing Date : 16 January, 2018


The embattled Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Advocate Sidney Pilane has promised to step down from the position of party president following a verdict by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which declared his leadership illegitimate.

This publication has established that Pilane accepted the ruling on the basis that it affirmed that the BMD remained a member of the UDC. “Had they made any decision that sought to suspend or expel the BMD from UDC, I would have fought them with everything I have. I believe that we must accept the decision of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) and do as they say in order to deny them the excuse to continue excluding the BMD from UDC activities,” he shared in one of the social media platforms - facebook.

The latest ruling by the UDC comes as a shock following an earlier resolution by the UDC to recommend power sharing in the battle for party control instead of congress re-run as requested by the other faction. The UDC leadership also instructed BMD to hold an elective congress within 90 days. The resolution has however been received with mixed feelings with some section of the opposition especially those sympathetic to Ndaba Gaolathe, the former BMD leader, opining that the decision to call for a congress should have been made before formation of the Alliance for Progressives.

The current resolution follows the departure of the Gaolathe’s faction from the BMD after losing confidence in the UDC’s efforts to restore stability within the BMD. The group has since established a new party, the Alliance for Progressives (AP) which was launched last weekend. In explaining the decision not to call for a congress re-run in the BMD; UDC president, Duma Boko contended that had he made the same resolution earlier, it would have proved impossible to hold another congress since the two factions were embroiled in bitter war.

He said the Matshekge Congress, which turned into chaos, leaving several people severely injured, was a case in point and he did not want a repeat of the same violence. The Gaolathe faction had however then requested UDC to supervise the proposed congress re-run to ensure peace and stability. The major cause of dispute was the composition of congress, with parallel delegates proving to be contentious. “We are not apologetic about the BMD verdict as the UDC. We applied our minds long and hard,” he said.

Various schools of thoughts have emerged following the latest UDC resolution with some believing that it has been designed to eventually throw out Pilane and BMD in order to bring back Gaolathe’s AP into the UDC fold. Some had anticipated that Pilane, who had previously indicated that UDC had no business in telling BMD how to run its affairs, would reject the new verdict. Pilane has however agreed to UDC’s demands. Another school of thought is that the verdict did in fact legitimise Pilane’s presence in the UDC. Within 90 days Pilane will regain his position in the UDC as one of the Vice Presidents, the other being BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando.

The new resolution also wants the BMD to dismantle the leadership elected in Matshekge in favour of the previous one for the purpose of preparing for the proper congress. “It is therefore feasible and advisable to the BMD to fall back on the Ghanzi elected leadership to be caretaker of the party awaiting a legitimate congress which will elect the party leadership,” Boko said. The BMD is also expected to send four persons to represent the party in the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC).  Boko said the UDC will not dictate who the BMD sends as their representatives to serve in the NEC.

The UDC leader further added that the new draft constitution, which is subjected for adoption at the party’s congress billed for the 24th of February next year, provides for the two positions of Vice President, both of which are equal to each other but with different responsibilities. He said, contrary to popular opinion that there is 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President, none of the Vice President is superior to the other.



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