With Advocate Sidney Pilane stepping down as president of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), party Chairman Nehemiah Modubule says he will not take the reigns.
In an interview on Thursday the former Lobatse MP downplayed allegations that he is positioning himself to take over the presidency of the embattled opposition party. According to him, BMD needs a completely new leader who can make the party great again. "Pilane has informed us about his intention to step down as the president. Many people’s anticipation is that I will automatically takeover. I am not interested to be president because I am happy with the position I am currently holding in the NEC,”said Modubule.
He indicated that some of comrades inside BMD will contest for the position during the party’s upcoming elective congress saying others who left want to come back.“Members are showing interest for the central committee positions. We are also receiving signs from some former BMD members who want to come back to the party and run for the presidency.We are a democratic party and the congress will decide the new leadership,” he added.
Modubule once served as the party acting president of BMD in 2017 after a divisive and bloody elective congress that was held at Matshekge Senior in Bobonong leading to BMD split later on.
One of the names which top lobby lists to run for the presidency, according to sources inside BMD, is that of BMD Youth League President Oarabile Rakgama who has been loyal to the party. Sources say Rakgama is the favorite to lead the party should Modubule not take the baton while it also expected that some of the former BDP and BMD youth may come back. Rakgama was the BMD 2019 council candidate for Tsogang ward in Gaborone North, the same constituency which Pilane contested as MP but lost to Mpho Balopi of BDP.
“Modubule and Pilane already have their preferred candidates for the NEC which will be youth dominated. Some of former expelled BDP youth league members by Khama also want to apply for the party membership to come vie for the NEC positions that are up for grabs, said sources.
Rakgama was not available for comment as she could not be reached through her mobile phone while Pilane did not answer calls into his mobile phone after repeated efforts. Pilane has been linked with a possible return to the civil service especially at Botswana Defence Force (BDF) tipped as favorite runner by President Mokgweetsi Masisi for Advocate General vacancy.
However, Modubule could not be drawn further into discussing the reason why Pilane is stepping down, stressing that all he knows is that he will still be a BMD member. Recently, the party lost its Secretary General Gilbert Mangole who was appointed by Masisi as the Ambassador to India, a move which left tongues wagging that Pilane could be next to leave.