Not for the first time, the high rank of the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change is rankled by fears that the security of one of their leaders, Ndaba Gaolathe is vulnerable.
Gaolathe is the deputy leader and administrative backbone of the UDC. He is also the leader of one of UDC’s constituent parties, the Botswana Movement for Democracy.
Speaking in confidence to the Sunday Standard, the UDC has said that they have received information that a three-man team has been scouring Gaolathe’s movements including his security details.
Perhaps underscoring the seriousness with which he takes the threat, Gaolathe has as a precaution, s moved houses, leaving his family house that was used by his late parents and relocating to a more secure gated apartment, in Gaborone Central, The Sunday Standard can confirm.
The three-man team with security backgrounds are said to be staying in rented house in The Village, in Gaborone Central.
Investigations by Sunday Standard have shown that the suspected foreign national are all from a Middle East country (name withheld).
While fears over Gaolathe are nothing new, this time around the UDC leadership is not leaving anything to chance.
The party has come up with an elaborate plan which includes sharing information with Botswana Government but also with a selected number of key embassies in Gaborone for assistance, which include identification of the suspects but also independent verification of the three suspicious looking men.
Sunday Standard can also confirm that a number of key political leaders including from the ruling party have been kept in the loop by UDC about what the party views as a degeneration of the political climate that if not addressed by all parties could end up creating a climate of targeted killings that are alien to Botswana’s political culture.
According to UDC the party, received information through a tip off from a local intelligence and security officer who advised them that while for now the picture is still blurry it was better to take precautions than to be sorry.
“We have no idea about the motives. What we have to be clear about upfront is that these guys are not at the official invitation of Botswana Government, certainly not at a political level,” said a UDC member who talked to Sunday Standard on condition of anonymity.
“Whatever happens to Gaolathe we are almost certain that the political leadership of this country would not have given its blessing to it. If anything it would be a result of rogue security and intelligence operatives that now seem to be too independent and too powerful even for their political masters,” he continued.
Recently Botswana Police called for questioning a UDC Member of Parliament, Sedirwa Kgoroba after he intimated that there was a plot being hatched to physically harm Gaolathe.