The war of attrition between newly elected Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president, Advocate Sydney Pilane and the party’s Francistown region intensified this past week, raising fears it could plunge the movement into further crisis. Unless quickly resolved, developments taking shape within the BMD has got connotations of tearing the once thriving Orange Movement into a fallen entity. This past week, Pilane threatened to take full advantage of his first National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that was scheduled for yesterday (Saturday) and device ways of clipping of his rival, Ndaba Gaolathe. From the look of things, Gaolathe enjoys support of many BMD followers. It also seems that Gaolathe is the favorite and preferred BMD president of many if not all the opposition party’s regions. Pilane and his allies are however allegedly planning to stop the Gaolathe faction from claiming to be the rightful BMD leaders and to bar them from continuing to address BMD members. BMD is divided into two factions, one led by Pilane and the other by Gaolathe who both lay claim to the presidency. This follows a chaotic congress that took place at Matshekge Senior Secondary School in Bobonong recently. At the Bobonong congress, Pilane and his trusted lieutenants resolved that the NEC should take “the necessary action, legal or otherwise against any person, group or body who may claim to have held a congress or claim to have been elected into any position in that congress which congress is purported to have been held as the BMD congress.” The NEC meeting was expected to buttress this resolution. However, threats issued by Pilane has not deterred BMD Francistown region from convening a meeting in the name of the breakaway party.
Francistown region was expected to hold a feedback meeting in Francistown yesterday (Saturday) at Goldmine Junior Secondary School. Jonathan Thembo, the regional chairperson for Francistown, confirmed the development and dismissed Pilane’s threats as worthless. “Pilane is not our president. Neither is Pilane the BMD president because the congress they (Pilane and his faction) purport to have held in Bobonong is illegitimate and unconstitutionally,” said a fuming Thembo. Thembo said he is prepared for anything. He said people in the Francistown region deserve to be given a feedback on the “humiliating development that transpired in Bobonong during the President’s Holidays.” According to Thembo, Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi and former BMD Youth League president, Phenyo Segokgo were to be amongst a host of other speakers at the feedback meeting. “I am not bothered about the consequences because Pilane is not our leader. His threats are as good as from a mere and wild person threatening to take action but without the powers to implement the intimidations,” charged Thembo. Endless efforts to get a comment from either Pilane or the BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole drew a blank as their mobile phones rang unanswered until the time of going to press. Meanwhile, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko told a media briefing that the coalition body’s NEC was to look into the messy BMD issues as both teams had submitted their respective names, claiming to be legitimate.