The ruling Botswana Democratic Party was dealt yet another blow when on Wednesday members of its student organisation cell, GS 26, resigned to join the opposition Botswana Movement for Democracy. Members of the University of Botswana’s Student Representative Council, together with ordinary members of GS 26, yesterday hosted a press conference at which they announced their defection to BMD.
The SRC minsters who resigned included SRC Vice President Ronald Ngwepe, Secretary General Dominic Kwena, Administrative Secretary Biki Bose, Academic Affairs Minister Nomsa Hazel Bakani and Justice Minister Andrew Mobogo.
Also included are Sports Minister Jacob Kelebeng and Thatayaone Gaboitalolelwe, who have been marshalling the GS 26 campaign ahead of their victory in April 1. Close to twenty members of GS 26 attended the press conference, at which they announced their resignation to BMD.
“This decision has been necessitated by the current status of affairs within the BDP. We have applied our minds to the increasing culture of intolerance by our leaders and purging of the liberal minded. It is clear that this BDP is no longer the party that we joined and loved and that we can proudly be associated with” they said.
The students also announced their defection to BMD, which they described as a meritorious organisation that aims to revive Botswana’s democracy.
Asked if they had consulted the student community regarding their defection, the students said consultation is ongoing, and the response that they are receiving so far is that students are in support of their defection. They also said they will not have any problem working with other SRC members who have not defected to the BMD, as the interests of the student community supersede their political interests. They also expressed optimism that the number of students who defect to BMD will swell in the near future.
When welcoming the students, Kabo Morwaeng, who is tasked with mobilising resources and membership for the BMD, encouraged them to work together to harness democracy. He said BMD is an open and transparent organisation, and they will not be hampered by protocol and red tape whenever they seek an audience with the party leadership.
The students then unveiled an interim committee which will be responsible for setting up the newly formed UB-BMD cell in Gaborone Central.
Also present at the press conference were Members of parliament Patrick Masimolole, Daniel Kwelagobe, Botsalo Ntuane, Wynter Mmolotsi, and Gilbert Mangole.