The embattled Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has appointed Deputy Secretary General Tseleng Botlhole to replace outgoing party Secretary General Gilbert Mangole, who has been appointed High Commissioner to India.
The Patriot on Sunday has learnt that Mangole has indicated that he will resign his position to focus on public office as an envoy. Sources within BMD have indicated that the party is already mobilizing to find a new Secretary General. According to impeccable sources close to developments within the orange movement, the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet Mangole in an effort to discuss the way forward following his appointment.
BMD Chairman Nehemiah Modubule on Friday told this publication that their upcoming congress will decide on the vacant position that the outgoing Secretary General has left. He noted that will serve as the interim Secretary General adding that they anticipate Mangole to forego BMD matters as he is a civil servant. “The party is not shaken by the departure of Mangole. We will be having a congress but for now is delayed by the Covid-19 situation. All is well within the party and will miss Mangole,” he said.
Mangole is said to have notified the BMD NEC over his appointment as an ambassador and it will be seen if he will retire from the party with observers noting that he will quit active politics.
Section ( 5) (5) of Public Service Act (PSA) No 30 of 2008 prohibited public servants from voting in party primary elections but officers can retain affiliation to a party and remain active in the affairs of their party but source from Ministry of International Affairs says envoys relinquish. “An envoy when he or she is appointed from political background like in Mangole’s case should then have to resign from lively politics as he is now a civil servant of high note,” said the source.
Efforts to reach Mangole proved futile on Friday as his mobile phone was not available.
The bruising BMD also suffered a debilitating blow last year prior to the elections when it lost its vice president Dr Tlamelo Mmatli who retraced his steps to opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Dr Mmatli together with Mangole, Modubule and Pilane were at the forefront when UDC took a decision to expel the BMD from the colaition in 2018. Dr Mmatli, who was MP for Molepolole South later reunited with UDC and contested 2019 elections but lost to Kabo Morwaeng of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) by 10 228 votes against 2 733 votes.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has indicated that the appointment of Mangole as the High Commissioner of Botswana to India signals that his government is committed to inclusivity.
Earlier on the year, Masisi appointed another opposition member being 2019 general elections parliamentary runner for Gaborone Bonnington North, Dr Kaelo Molefhe of the Alliance for Progressives as Deputy Permanent for Governance in the Office of the President but opposition critics view it as political gimmick.