The Secretary General of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Gilbert Mangole, has announced the expulsion of six members of the party including President Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi. Others are: Joyce Mothudi: Pako Keogilwe: Harriet Snowy Rampa: and Councillor Phenyo Segokgo. They were all found guilty on all charges they faced and summarily expelled from the party with immediate effect. Only Kabelo Mahupe was discharged of the charges he faced. “The National Disciplinary Committee considered the disciplinary offences brought against each of the six expelled members so serious as to constitute an existential threat to our Movement,” said Mangole in a statement on Friday. “Prior to arriving at the above verdicts and penalties, written charges were served on each of the seven members and notice of the disciplinary hearings was given to each of the members. When they did not appear at the first scheduled hearing, the National Disciplinary Committee adjourned the hearing for a week to give the members a further opportunity to appear. Written notice of the adjournment was served on each of the members, with the warning that if they again did not appear, the hearing would take place in their absence. When they again did not appear, the Disciplinary Committee heard evidence and found that all the charges which had been brought against six of the seven members had been proved to the Committee’s satisfaction, and that because no evidence was called against the seventh member, he was discharged without prejudice,” Mangole said.
There was no immediate response from Gaolathe as his phone rang unanswered. However, in a recent interview with this newspaper he discussed the prospect of being expelled. “If expelled, I am travelling to Bobonong for our congress like all other members of our great movement to party of a beautiful symphony of crafting a future for the party and country,” he charged at the time. The fallout between Gaolathe and the other axis in the party worsened following the youth congress which was held though the BMD National Executive Committee had decided to postpone it. Gaolathe and all those that have been expelled were accused of having pushed to have congress, a development that impinged on the party constitution. They were subsequently called for Disciplinary Hearing which they all boycotted. When quizzed about this Gaolathe did not seem concerned about the prospect of being expelled. “I am not worried about anything. My eyes are fixated on assisting our people achieve that change that they aspire to achieve for their country. This change does not depend on the look and feel of my political title,” he said. Following their suspension, Gaolathe had ruled out the possibility of taking the matter to the High Court, saying he did not trust the courts’ fairness in handling their matter.
The BMD has not known peace since the last congress in Ghanzi as the newly elected executive committee failed to work well together with the party president and his vice on one side and chairman Nehemiah Modubule and secretary general Mangole holding the other corner. So divided they were such at some point it was said the party had two offices run on factional lines. The tension however reached new level when Mangole went against the will of Gaolathe to have prominent lawyer and party co-founder Sidney Pilane readmitted into the party after he had quit it. When Gaborone North constituency refused to accept his application for membership Mochudi West admitted him, leading to a shouting match between the President and his Secretary General. An earlier attempt by Gaolathe to call a Special Congress to deal with their difference failed when it was ruled that due process was not followed in calling for it.