The political circus that is currently playing itself at Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has now reached a crescendo with the membership of its leader Ndaba Gaolathe being brought into question. Information gathered by this publication has revealed that some of the leaders within the BMD have never applied for membership of the party and still owe their registration fees. One of those is allegedly the President of the party Gaolathe, who it is said, owes P650 of his membership fee as he has only paid P350. Gaolathe is said to have been one of the first BMD members who applied for the P1000 membership which was part of the fundraising initiative started by the then treasurer Samson Moyo Guma in 2010. Sources within the party have revealed that the National Executive Committee, which is currently led by the Mangole faction, is compiling the list of those members especially holding leadership positions who have not paid their subscription fees in an effort to bring them to book. On the other hand the Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction is said to have opened an office and is also registering new members.
Currently Gaolathe and Mmolotsi are on a countrywide tour addressing the BMD cadres about the problems besieging the party and want a special congress to be called to elect new leadership. Though regions that have been visited have endorsed the calling for a special congress, information unearthed have shown that this might take some time as the other faction is ready to go to court should a special congress be called. According to the BMD constitution, all the regions have to write to the Secretary General if they want a special congress. BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole confirmed that there are some members of the party especially within the leadership who are not card carrying members of the party. “We are currently contacting them to pay their subscription or we will have to recall their membership,” said the outspoken BMD Secretary General. He said that since they took office, the machine that was used to print membership cards has disappeared and they suspect that some might be using it to register new members without the NEC knowledge.
“Recently some people peddled some propaganda that we have sold their membership without their knowledge yet they knew that it was not true. Membership number 0019 belonged to someone who have since relocated and gave us a go ahead to sell it,” he said.
Recently social media was awash with allegations that the BMD has sold the membership card of the founding president of the party the late Gomolemo Motswaledi, something that Mangole labelled as rubbish. Spokesperson for the BMD parliamentary caucus Dr Phenyo Butale labelled as a big lie that Gaolathe has not fully paid for his membership. He said that he is not aware of any BMD MP who has not registered as a BMD member. “What I am aware of is that we have challenges with issuing of membership cards due to the problems with the card producing machines,” said Butale, adding that the secretariat is best placed to give more information on the issue. Since the party came from their elective congress in Gantsi it has not enjoyed political peace with its National Executive Committee divided. The climax of the infighting was when its founding member and architect of its constitution Sidney Pilane re-applied for membership. This led to an all-out war with both factions washing their dirty linen in public.