Gaolathe takes over as BMD deputy president
by Edgar Tsimane
The new Vice President of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Ndaba Gaolathe, sounds like a rare breed of a politician who is not easily swayed and confused about his political convictions.
Ndaba, son of the late Finance Minister, Baledzi Gaolathe, replaced Botsalo Ntuane, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Gaborone West South, who has since re-joined the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from “Shapa” – a movement he co-founded with the likes of advocate Sidney Pilane and Kabo Morwaeng who have also since left the party.
Those who know Ndaba better say he may not be your usual oratory politician who mesmerises the masses at political rallies but a man who articulates himself politically better through the written word. That description seems to fit snugly if dissected along a statement - ‘A road I am being asked to travel’ – which he immediately issued this week upon becoming the new BMD Vice President.
He says in a statement released this week that he could not have been the best of the best in terms of who qualifies to fill in the boots of Ntuane and thinks it was by God’s grace that he was chosen.
“I am inclined to borrow the words of a wise leader, who upon being summoned to take high office declared, ‘I feel like a criminal who is going to the place of his execution, who will lose the benefit of his healthy body for an ocean of difficulties without that competency of political skill or abilities and inclination necessary to manage high office.’ Still, fairness, determination and the best of me is all I can promise,” Ndaba offers.
But the ordinary voter would not want to hear political speak littered with riddles. The prospective voter would want to ask blunt questions and get blunt answers so The Telegraph asked him a few questions.
The Telegraph: You have previously held the view that the BMD needs to consolidate itself before entering into coalitions with other parties. Do you still hold the view?
Gaolathe: A “slow but sure” approach is necessary to achieve resilience and excellence. My view has always been and still is that everything we do must be inspired by thoroughness, thinking carefully over the issues, planning diligently, and always carrying all our people on board with us. And this always takes time. I had also been of the view of a phased approach to coalitions – one major political party at a time. My views remain the same. And this is, by hand of destiny, compatible with what we are doing right now with the BNF in the Umbrella, and with the BPP.
The Telegraph: What could be your immediate plans as the new Vice President to consolidate the party in the wake of recent resignations?
Gaolathe: I don’t think anyone would have been able to arrest the spate of the high profile resignations. Even if I had been VP then, the BMD would not have fared any better. The re-alignment of forces is partly a natural dynamic – in the fullness of time, the waters always sieve themselves, and those who believe in one thing will work with those who share their values. Time is always a conveyer of truth. My role is to continue working with others, to create a serious movement that provides an alternative government, a government in waiting, a Government with the capacity and inclination to offer a significantly glorious future for all our people. Working with others, I will help create a movement that reaches out to all our citizens, and a movement that is able to bring out the best in all our members. This takes time, and is an ongoing process.
The Telegraph: How do you respond to allegations that serious internal differences are the source of the founding members’ resignations from the BMD?
Gaolathe: The only ones who know the true cause of the departures is God and the individuals concerned. We will always have a rainbow spectrum of alternative perspectives on any major matter in our movement. It is in the nature of any political, family or any other institution to have differences in perspective. Our lives are defined by how we manage and make the best out of these perspectives.
The Telegraph: What would you say are the challenges facing the BMD as a relatively new political formation?
Gaolathe: We have many challenges, one of which is to fathom adequate resources to finance our plans to build a movement that is ready to govern. We have many others. We will meet all our challenges magnificently because our movement’s people are determined in a remarkable way. Our opportunities far exceed our challenges.