BMD crisis: Pilane’s head on the line again

10 Aug 2017

The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) North West Region is working on challenging the membership of Advocate Sidney Pilane before the High Court, it has emerged.

The North West region which is aligned to the BMD camp led by Ndaba Gaolathe intends to rope in South Africa’s prominent legal eagle Senior Counsel Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett.

It is understood that those who intend to challenge Pilane’s membership recently travelled to South Africa to consult Advocate Guanlett.

It is further understood that they intend to challenge Pilane’s membership on the basis that the right procedure was not followed to obtain it.

Gauntlett has over 40 years of experience and also admitted in the United Kingdom as Queen’s Counsel and he is expected to square up with Pilane’s team. Pilane is expected to lead his crop of legal minds to defend his position.

After abandoning the party he founded, Pilane reapplied to be admitted back into the party in 2015, he was rejected in Gaborone North Constituency. He then re-applied in Mochudi West Constituency, and he was admitted into the BMD.

Those challenging his membership are of the view that his re-admission has been suspect. Some within the opposition have associated him with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) - it has been alleged that he is being sent by the BDP to destabilize the opposition. He is also associated with the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS).

The North West Region comprises of Okavango, Ngami, Maun East and West and Chobe. The Telegraph has learnt that at a meeting that was held in the North West Region, it was resolved to challenge Pilane’s re-admission into the BMD through the courts of law.

The meeting was attended by the former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Margret Nasha, the National Organising Secretary Solomon Kololo and the Regional chairman Isaac Phoi.

The meeting did not recognise the recent Pilane led faction Congress in Bobonong; their reasons are that the congress violated member’s rights of being part of the congress since it allowed only delegates. The meeting resolved that both congresses be nullified and a fresh one be held by an independent person (s) not affiliated to the either of the faction. Another resolution was to let the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to deal with the matter, failing which court shall be the next step.

Phoi confirmed the meeting to this publication.

“We held a Regional meeting with the aim to consult the people of the ongoing debacle within the BMD. The idea was to gather from the Region Branch Chairmen and the general membership what their views are on the matter,” said Phoi.

He also said they are looking at different channels available for them to save the movement; their priority is to stabilize the BMD before the 2019 general elections.

Contacted for a comment, Gilbert Mangole who is aligned to Pilane said they have not received communication from North West Region. Mangole who is the secretary general for the Pilane faction insisted that procedure was followed to readmit Pilane into BMD.