The leader of the Botswana Movement for Democracy, Ndaba Gaolathe has written a strongly worded letter to party Secretary General Gilbert Mangole and Party National Chairman Nehemiah Modubule following a hasty decision by a meeting convened by the two to re-admit Sydney Pilane back into the BMD without following proper party procedures.
Pilane resigned from the BMD a few years ago at a time when the party was going through a rough patch.
Pilane later tried his luck at becoming a High Court judge but was rebuffed by the Judicial Services Commission after he had been interviewed.
At the time that he resigned from the BMD he had said he would never again join politics because he considered himself a failed politician.
But before resigning from the BMD, Pilane had also tried his hand at the party leadership position, a contest that he badly lost to Gomolemo Motswaledi.
But with BMD now on an upward momentum as an alliance partner of the Umbrella for Democratic Change, Pilane seems impatiently too eager to rejoin politics. And following the processes seems a too tedious and cumbersome a procedure for him and his acolytes to follow.
This has not however sat down well with multitudes of ordinary BMD members many of who are questioning the motives not just of Pilane but also his handlers within the party hierarchy.
Pilane recently applied for membership at Gaborone North, but was rejected.
He then moved to Mochudi where by Mangole’s reckoning he has been accepted.
From the look of things, Pilane seems to enjoy unbridled loyalty from Mangole and Modubule both of who have been using his membership application to defy their leader, Ndaba Gaolathe and most recently the party processes.
Last week Modubule and Mangole presided over a meeting at which they say a decision was taken to re-admit Pilane by the National Executive Council.
Questions have lingered on since, especially on how it could be that such a potentially divisive decision as accepting a person rejected elsewhere could be reached especially after some of the party leadership, including Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi had walked out of the meeting
This week Ndaba Gaolathe for the first time publicly waded into the Pilane affair.
Gaolathe has written a letter to Mangole effectively telling him to learn to respect and uphold the party Constitution.
Gaolathe warned against the “denigration’ and “flagrant violation” of the BMD constitution through the purported act that Pilane had been admitted.
“The procedure for handling membership applications seems fairly simple and straight forward. The application must, in terms of Article 5, more particularly 5.5 be submitted to and considered by a Branch Committee. The Branch Committee may accept or refuse any application. Any such acceptance or refusal is subject to review by the next higher organ of the party. The next higher organ after the Branch Committee is of course the regional Committee. The Constitution does not countenance a situation where an applicant for membership “shops” around, going from Branch Committee to Branch Committee receiving rejections until he or she arrives at one that would grant an acceptance,” he said in clear reference for Pilane to hop from Gaborone North where he was rejected to Mochudi where he was accepted by Mangole.
Gaolathe says any attempt to “shop” for membership as Pilane has done “offends” against the Constitution and is improper. He adds that it also amounts to violation of the BMD Constitution.
“The proper process should have involved a request by Adv. Pilane to have the refusal of his membership application by Gaborone North Branch Committee reviewed by the next higher organ of the party, in this case is the Regional Committee.”
He adds that indeed the NEC remains vested with powers to overturn acceptance of any membership application.
“The NEC reserves the right and has the powers to reject such an application, thus overturning any acceptance thereof by the appropriate lower organ (s).”
“Even an acceptance of a membership application that is proper and regular does not immediately confer full membership which may only become full at the expiration of 8 weeks from the date of notification of the granting of provisional membership. This is in terms of article 5.11,” Gaolathe says as a matter of fact.
He finishes his communication by reiterating his confidence that all will collectively do what is right “not only for those who have placed their trust in us, but for the people of Botswana at large as well.”