Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), which is currently reeling from its worst factional fight since its formation six years ago, appears to be streaming ahead to host a Special Congress to possibly heal itself of the rifts. It was the readmission of Sidney Pilane – a founding member of the party who later ditched it - into the party that worsened divisions. His membership application exposed the leadership tussle in the BMD - an offshoot of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) – leaving political pundits raising questions about the capacity of BMD leader Ndaba Gaolathe. Some have even asked if the party is still under the tight grip of the two BDP factions of Barata phathi and the A team, which gave birth to it in 2010. The two factions have taken new names of the Ndaba/Mmolotsi (NdaMmo) and Mangole/Modubule (MaMo) factions. According to reliable sources, the NdaMmo faction, which is currently touring the country informing members about the problems within the party, has finalised their team ahead of the planned special congress. Mmolotsi recently addressed members of the Southern region in Kanye, at a meeting which was also attended by the National chairperson Nehemiah Modubule. There have been calls from some quarters within the party for a special congress in order to give the six year old political party, which is part of the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), new direction.
At the Gantsi elective congress, the MaMo faction was triumphant winning almost all the positions in the National Executive Committee (NEC). The faction is said to be sympathetic to Pilane and there are allegations that he funded it ahead of the congress. Information gathered by this publication has revealed that the other faction wants re-election, to get an opportunity to annihilate the MaMo faction and expel them from the party. Wynter Mmolotsi, who is currently the Vice President, is expected to take on Nehemiah Modubule for the national chairperson position. Modubule retained the position last year beating Gabane/Mmankgodi MP Major General Pius Mokgware by 304 votes to 140 while 19 were spoiled. The position of the chairperson in the BMD constitution is the only one that has well defined roles and powers. In the event that the party president vacates office or is not available, the position is occupied by the chairperson not the vice president. In the position of the vice president the NdaMmo faction is said to have settled for the militant Mogoditshane MP Sedirwa Kgoroba. Kgoroba, who lost to Mangole for the Secretary General position, has been at the forefront, accusing some within the leadership of destroying the party and trying to assassinate Gaolathe. Never the one to shy away from speaking his mind, Kgoroba has put the current mess that BMD finds itself in at the doorstep of Mangole and Modubule.
For the Secretary General position Mokgware is expected to challenge Mangole, who won the position after beating Kgoroba by 312 votes to 112. Mokgware was co-opted into the BMD NEC when he joined the party in 2013. For the treasurer general position NdaMmo is said to have gone for the former Botswana National Front (BNF) firebrand Mogalakwe Mogalakwe who will be taking on Percy Bakwena of Modubule/Mangole faction. Mogalakwe joined BMD after his fallout with the BNF leadership and is the former councillor for Mosolotshane. At the Gantsi congress Bakwena was unopposed for the position of Treasurer. On the position of Policy Director, which is currently held by MP for Molepolole South Dr Tlamelo Mmatli, another academician Dr Phenyo Butale will try his luck for the second time. At the Gantsi congress Dr Mmatli humbled Dr Butale by 291 votes against 123 votes of the Gaborone Central MP. In an interview Gaborone North MP Haskins Nkaigwa, who used to be in the Mangole/Modubule faction, declined to say whether he will contest should there be a special congress. “I am a man of God and if he wishes me to stand and save my party I will gladly do so,” he said. Asked why he left the faction, Nkaigwa revealed that they fell out due to the membership of Pilane and realised that his former allies had ulterior motives. Nkaigwa, whose constituency rejected Pilane’s membership only for him to be admitted by Mangole’s region of Kgatleng West, is currently an additional member in the NEC.
BMD National spokesperson Kagelelo Banks Kentse said he has heard of a lobby list doing rounds but could not comment much on it. On the planned special congress, Kentse revealed that the main concern for the party currently is that there are no structures and they have to be resuscitated before they can talk about calling a special congress. “The special congress can be called by the one third of the branches or the NEC but currently our party structures have collapsed,” he said.