The internal wrangling within the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has reached an explosive point where death threats and physical confrontations have taken centre stage. At the centre of the fight for the soul of the party is the life of its President Ndaba Gaolathe, who is Secretary General of the UDC. Sources within the party have revealed that the recent allegations that the life of the BMD President is under threat from not only alleged security agents but also from some of his party members. According to information gathered by this publication, there is already a faction that is intending to topple Gaolathe from the party presidency by hook or crook. Sources within the BMD have revealed that the internal wrangling is so intense that some within the party are worried about the safety of their leader from enemies within.
At the heart of the infighting, which threatens to even cost lives, is the elective congress slated for next year. At the congress it is expected that Gaolathe will be challenged for the party’s presidency. Some say former party’s spokesperson Sydney Pilane who recently returned to the BMD under controversial circumstances - exposing division within the National Executive Committee (NEC) – will seek a senior leadership position. A faction led by party Secretary General Gilbert Mangole and National Chairperson Nehemiah Modubule were said to be in support of Pilane’s return while the one led by Party’s Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi and Haskins Nkaingwa were against the move. The two factions washed their political linen in public as they exchanged letters and emails. The ugliness of the infighting took a crescendo recently during the elections of the delegates for the Women’s Wing Congress slated for Mahalapye this month with some reportedly exchanging blows and threatening each other physically. A fight broke in Molepolole and Gaborone North during the meetings as the two factions tried to ensure that their preferred candidates are voted in.
Thamaga branch reports threats
Recently the Thamaga Branch wrote a letter to the police seeking protection from their fellow party members reasoning that their lives were under threat. In an interview BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole said that they are not aware of the allegations that there are some people who want to assassinate their leader both internal and externally. “Maybe those at UDC know about the threat because us within the party’s executive leadership we only hear those allegations from the press,” said Mangole, adding that it will be a disappointment if UDC leadership knows about the threat but fail to inform them.
Mangole: UDC should inform us
The militant politician said that Gaolathe is a BMD first and UDC leader second, hence it is paramount that they are informed if there is danger to his life. On allegations that there are some within the party who want to eliminate Gaolathe for their own political gain, Mangole laughed off and said that it is madness of the highest order to think that. “Whoever is peddling that needs to be investigated if he is really okay because here in Botswana we believe in democratic process and if anyone wants to contest against Gaolathe can do so without killing him,” said the maverick Kgatleng West MP. Regarding the recent physical altercations between their members on the issue, Mangole said that there was misunderstanding between the members of the branch committee and women’s wing league.
“The Women’s wing is semi-autonomous organisation and there is no need for them to report to the branch committee when they hold elections and we have explained that to them,” he said. The MP for Mogoditshane Sedirwa Kgoroba, who has been vocal about security of Gaolathe, said Mangole is economical with the truth. “He is not telling the truth. We all know about the threat to the life of our President and I am not surprised about his statement as he belongs to a faction that wants Gaolathe out,” said the outspoken BMD leader. Asked if they are aware that there are some allegations that the threat could be internal not external, Kgoroba answered in affirmative noting that they have been infiltrated. “Some of our members especially those within the leadership are used to try and topple Gaolathe from the BMD Presidency and we won’t be surprised if they are party to his assassination plot,” said Kgoroba.
Ndaba’s security beefed
The UDC President Duma Boko has recently confirmed that they were aware of a plot to assassinate the BMD President and have since beefed up his security. Boko, who did not elaborate further, said they take the security of Gaolathe and other UDC leaders seriously; hence they didn’t take the threats lightly. The infighting within the BMD is said to be causing uneasiness among its partners especially Botswana National Front (BNF), which is currently enjoying internal peace which eluded them for many years.