President of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Ndaba Gaolathe has described the current National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party as a joke. Addressing delegates from the Kweneng region in Molepolole on Saturday, Gaolathe said the NEC was a disgrace to the party.
“I cannot continue working with the committee under the current circumstances,” he said. Ndaba and his Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi were addressing the region as part of their ‘Presidential Tour’ to sensitise BMD members about the status of the party.
Gaolathe said the current committee (dominated by the pro-Pilane faction) had frustrated all efforts to develop and implement innovative programs and policies aimed at positioning the party for possible victory in 2019.
“The NEC has chosen to pigeonhole the innovations and continues to waste time on trivial matters that cannot take the party forward.”
BMD Vice President Mmolotsi accused the NEC of trying to force Sidney Pilane down the party’s throat. He described how the current NEC through Secretary General (SG) Gilbert Mangole co-opted Pilane for a position in the committee following the Ghanzi congress although he (Pilane) was not a registered member of the party. “We questioned the decision because as far as we were concerned Pilane’s application for membership had been rejected by the Gaborone North branch committee. He said the BMD constitution stipulates that when a person’s application for membership is rejected at branch level they have the right to appeal to the next superior structure (regional committee), and if they are still not satisfied with the outcome they may then appeal to the NEC.
“None of those steps were taken by Pilane,” Mmolotsi narrated. He said instead, Pilane went on to successfully apply for membership in Kgatleng West for which SG Mangole is a Member of Parliament.
The VP described the move as tantamount to losing a primary election in one constituency and contesting again in the next under the very same party. He said Pilane’s Kgatleng West application came at a time when the NEC had set a four member commission of enquiry to look into the Gaborone North application. Mmolotsi also described how Pilane’s name cropped up again when NEC nominated a delegation to represent the BMD at the negotiation table for cooperation talks between the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP). “How does one represent a party at such a platform when their membership is still in question?” Mmolotsi asked rhetorically.
He said when he and Gaolathe questioned the move Mangole insisted they vote on it. “We refused to take part in the voting process.” The VP then suggested that Pilane’s name be withheld from the negotiating list pending discussions on the eligibility of his membership but Mangole would have none of it. There was no way the delegation list was going to be submitted without Pilane’s name, Mangole is said to have put his foot down.
“Dr Tlamelo Mmatli told us to our faces that we were going to accept Pilane’s membership whether we like it or not,” Mmolotsi said, pointing a finger at the Molepolole South MP seated on the far end of the table. Mmolotsi said since their victory at the Ghanzi congress all that the NEC has done is talk about Pilane.
“We cannot continue to be a part of this committee. I will not have the BMD break apart on my watch.” He made an appeal to the general membership to save the party and restore its dignity. All the eight branches in Kweneng were unanimous in their calls for a special congress. The Gaborone region has since, also called for a special congress. The BMD constitution stipulates that only the NEC or a third (19) of the 57 constituencies can call for a special congress.