Pilane’s worst week in politics
His party’s – BMD Youth League – call for his firing
NEC to discuss letter calling for Pilane sacking
UDC colleagues insult him
BCP threatens not to vote for him
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) will at its meeting next week consider a letter from a group of youth calling from party President Sidney Pilane to step down, following humiliation he suffered after trading insults in a secret WhatsApp group against other UDC leaders was leaked.
A group of eight youth have written to the party National Working Committee demanding that Pilane be asked to step down to pave the way for new leadership to take the movement forward on a clean slate. The group is made up of youth leaders and ordinary members. However, the NWC meeting to authenticate the letter on Thursday resolved that the matter is complex as it is new to them and therefore should be escalated to NEC. “Yes, NWC met to the authors of that letter. Four have since written letters withdrawing their signatures, while four remain. NWC came to the conclusion that they should seek the intervention of NEC to advise on the way forward. NEC will make the issue part of their agenda when they meet next week,” said party spokesperson Winfred Rasina on Friday.
This should stand out as one of the weeks Sydney Pilane would love to forget were he not as gallant and indefatigable as he is. But the man is well known for his resilience and never say die spirit despite his failure to win over greater public appeal and sympathy – at least in the political space.
What started as his usual ‘wise’ counsel to colleagues in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) executive committee backfired when they simply told him off - in words and insults. And to add salt to injury a structure within his own party denounced him – saying he should step down with immediate effect.
Pilane had prefaced the statement that brought UDC leaders to war in their WhatsApp group this way: “In the Moshupa Manyana by-election, the BCP and BNF actively campaigned against the UDC parliamentary candidate and achieved victory for the BDP. That was contrary to all that the UDC is and represents. Mohwasa and Hunyepa continue to make public statements claiming that constituency and Lentsweletau Mmopane as their own, and making all manner of threats. We are not moved, but are deeply saddened and cry for the UDC and Batswana, the only losers in all this. Those constituencies are ours by agreement reached at the negotiations in 2016. That is not going to change. And there is nothing further to be said about those constituencies as we are not going to re-open negotiations as they were concluded in 2016. What is left to be done is for each of our four parties to work hard to win for the UDC constituencies allocated to it by the UDC in 2019 instead of working for the BDP to continue winning elections. Honesty, honour and integrity require that we should all respect agreements. When the BNF should be working its 22 constituencies in order to win them for the UDC in 2019, and this is what we at the BMD are trying to do, Mohwasa, Hunyepa and those in the BNF who allow themselves to be used by them continue to undermine the interests of the UDC and to promote those of the BDP.”
This perhaps genuine presentation opened a can of worms for Pilane – missiles were aimed at him from all ends in a downpour of what appears to have been bottled up concerns from other leaders of the UDC. In simply terms, BNF representatives in the UDC NEC and BCP President Dumelang Saleshando that participated in the heated WHatsApp exchange have had enough of Pilane and don’t see any value he is claiming to add to the UDC. They want him out; with BCP President going further to tell him to ‘fosteke’.
Dumelang Saleshando: O re tlhokela maitseo mme ole motona. We can't have a Trump that explodes saying only he knows the truth. You are downright disrespectful and rude. Your presence has been poisonous.We always get asked questions by the public gore what do we hope to achieve with you. Moshupa people have rejected you and your BMD. Others are going to continue to reject you. You tore apart the base that BNF and BCP had built. I had hoped that comrade Boko will counsel you on basics of leadership, but I guess he realises you are beyond redemption. This group may as well be disbanded. Your poison has killed what we tried to build for Batswana. I now understand why Batswana in their quiet way mistrust you and regard you a criminal
Sidney Pilane: MaBMD are fully behind me. Ba tlaa go tshega If they should see this.
Sidney Pilane: And we had peace in the UDC until you came along. As for who Batswana consider a criminal, you would be surprised to know.