During the Botswana Movement for Democracy elective congress in July 2015, the president of the BMD Ndaba Gaolathe made a promise that Attorney Dick Bayford will in August 2015 give the nation an update on the investigation into Gomolemo Motswaledi’s investigation. It is January 2016 and no word about the Gomolemo Motswaledi report has come from him or from Dick Bayford. No one except the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is responsible for misleading the nation that Gomolemo Motswaledi was assassinated. The only thing left is for BMD leadership to throw stones whenever the report is demanded; this is indeed regrettable.
The BMD and its mother body, the UDC must be reminded that when they requested monies from the public, they made an undertaking that such contributions were for the Gomolemo Motswaledi investigation. This investigation was said to help the nation find closure. They were never requested by anyone to advance such an investigation nor issue such a proclamation that a report will be shared with the public. Towards the 2014 national elections the BMD leadership and that of its mother body, the UDC used the Gomolemo Motswaledi’s unfortunate death as an innuendo against the ruling party. That has worked only in the short-term as the old saying that ‘truth always has a way of coming out’. Opposition activists find themselves having to defend the things that they know very little about yet when they demand answers they are rather labelled.
The arrogance displayed by the UDC leadership often seen in the context of a “growing gap” between the ordinary masses and leadership interactions is a clear sign of detachment. There has of recent grown a sense of ownership and entitlement by the BMD leadership over the movement of the masses being the BMD. The leadership has begun to behave in a manner that is a danger to what the movement has said to be standing for. This has been displayed by the anger and tone of language used whenever accountability is requested and that a report of the Gomolemo Motswaledi’s investigation be made public. It is imperative to address these matters as a failure to address these matters now will result in holding on to an empty container hoping that it is full of the future yet only in vain. The BMD must with outmost vigour stand against the flagrant injustices of labeling those who demand accountability as pro-BDP.
As a civil servant and trade union activist myself, I am equally traumatised by the apparent power struggle for domination of a movement that was founded on the principles on non-domination. Sadly Ndaba Gaolathe has also joined the bandwagon in a preposterous battle of who is the main man in making people laugh at a political rally. This is a new thing in the BMD circles. The BMD was founded on the basis of responsible leadership that let the political gimmicks to be played by foot soldiers and give movement leaders the space to engage in critical and constructive thought. It has become apparent that sadly in departing this worldly world, their leader Gomolemo Motswaledi took with him all those virtues. The men and women he left behind are failing to rise to the occasion. You can’t just collect public money and start behaving private when called to account for public funds, such behaviour is absurd.
The conduct and attitudes displayed are not helping the BMD grow but are rather reversing the gains that were made under the bright and sound leadership of Gomolemo Motswaledi (May his soul rest in peace). The subsequent rhetoric reactions that are being pursued by the BMD leadership whenever the Gomolemo Motswaledi report is being demanded are rather based on fallacious assumptions that do not withstand scrutiny. These reactions are a result of an assumption that those requesting the report are pro-BDP. Ndaba Gaolathe and company must know that amongst those leading pack that demand that the report be made public are the unionists, churches and non-aligned individuals. In an event that the report is not ready or being ‘cooked’ then promises that were made when public monies were collected that there will always be updates should follow suit. These promises were repeated during the speech made by Ndaba Gaolathe at the BMD 2015 elective congress. These promises must be upheld.
The virulent tendencies that have taken over the however former culture of the BMD which was rooted in honesty must be dealt with before it is too late. Honesty from and by public leadership is a moral imperative. We have entered a new phase in our quest for development as a country, in which we have placed the achievement of a radical and democratic transformation at the centre of all our efforts. And all these cannot be attained without being honest to the people who so much believe in political leaders’ ability to fulfill promises. This belief in us has been cultivated by á policy that the BMD has presented as aspirations of the people in the new beginning. This is the same blue print that the UDC derives its strength and relevance from. And yet, despite this significant progress, there is much more the BMD needs to do to fully realise the vision of the founders of our movement. Failing these very principles is not only failing the people who believe in the BMD but failing the spirit of the late leader Gomolemo Motswaledi.
At the centre of the work of the members of the BMD must be the achievement of tangible progress in fundamentally transforming the movement to meet the needs and hopes of all your people. You must though do so in the face of a difficult leadership vacuum that you find at the forefront of your movement. You the members must rise to the occasion and demand accountability. If the leadership fails to account for the monies dedicated to the investigation of the loss of a fallen hero, how on earth should you trust them with day to day coffers of the movement? Furthermore you must ask if these men and women who are failing to account now can be trusted to account for state funds late in the future when given the baton to run the country. Perhaps this is your cue to see to it that you re-look into your leadership credentials.
You must not accept the notion that you must make a choice between taking over power and being honest to the electorates. These two phenomenal inevitabilities must be pursued simultaneously and in concert. You also have a clear and unequivocal mandate from your people to implement and practice the things you say your movement stands for and amongst those is the truth. You should emphasise the responsibility of your fellow BMD members and leaders to promote not only activism but honesty in and for the larger society. We expect our leaders to earn the respect of their peers and society at large through their exemplary conduct. They must be informed by values of honesty, hard work, humility, service to the people and respect for the laws of the land. You must as members of the BMD work together to defeat patronage, the arrogance of power and bureaucratic indifference.
Leaders must serve the people selflessly and tirelessly. This report must come out, whether it is confirming the allegations that were made or it is negating. The BMD leadership made promises then and must uphold them now so that you are seen to be doing things not only differently but largely doing things correctly. This report carries with it your future as a movement and refusing to make it public is pouring doubt about your keenness to have accountable governance. Releasing the report is important as it shall enhance and strengthen the belief that you have cultivated in people about you as a movement. I trust and pray that the BMD continues to carry the hopes and aspirations of the people of this country.