The unending skirmish between the two warring factions in the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has pitted the country’s two rival workers’ unions against each other.
As the two BMD factions, known as the Modubule/Mangole and Gaolathe/Mmolotsi factions, continue to fight for the soul and heart of the party, BOFEPUSU and BOPEU have entered the fray and are busy building alliances with the two factions. On 21st May during a meeting that was convened by the Gaolathe/Mmolotsi faction at Letlhabile private school, BOFEPUSU leadership, led by veteran unionist Johnson Motshwarakgole publicly declared their support for BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe and his team. Motshwarakgole even went as uttering stark profanities in what was a clear demonstration of the existing animosity. The Botswana Gazette can confirm that just days after the well-attended Letlhabile meeting, the Modubule/Mangole faction met at African Mall at the Institute for Labour and Employment Studies (ILES) which is owned by BOPEU.
According to one of the leaders in the Modubule faction who insisted on commenting anonymously, the BOPEU leadership has since decided to assist their faction as a means to counter whatever support Motshwarakgole’s union could be extending to Gaolathe’s camp. BOPEU is said to be providing venue for the faction’s meetings as well as other resources like human capital and financial support. BOPEU is also alleged to have entertained thoughts that the faction must counter the Letlhabile meeting by convening their own at the same place.
‘‘BOPEU offered to pay for buses that would ferry our people from across the country,’’ said the source. Had things gone according to plan, the Modubule/Mangole faction would have convened their version of the Letlhabile meeting this past weekend, according to the source. The Modubule faction however, decided not to hold the meeting this past weekend but asked BOPEU to assist them on country-wide tours so they can mobilise members for the upcoming congress scheduled for July in Bobonong. The faction intends to use the ‘buses offer’ to transport their supporters to Bobonong. This publication can confirm that the leadership of the Modubule/Mangole faction kickstarted their country-wide tour this past weekend. One of the resolutions from the Modubule-led faction however is not to challenge Gaolathe for the presidency but to field candidates in all the National Executive Committee (NEC) positions.
‘‘We do not have a presidential candidate because we are aware of the massive support that Gaolathe enjoys in the party,’’ the source explained. Modubule’s faction is said to have initially preferred not to challenge Wynter Mmolotsi for the party vice presidency but has since decided to challenge him as they view him as the kingpin in the Gaolathe faction. Our source said that they believe Mmolotsi is the ringleader and feel they should get rid of him: ‘‘If we have Gaolathe as president, presiding over NEC that is full of our members then it will be easy to put him on the leash. While we enjoy Sidney Pilane’s support, we are not delusional to think he can win over Gaolathe.’’
The Modubule faction has also resolved to call Gaolathe and his team to a disciplinary hearing before the July congress so that they are not seen as trying to close them out of contesting at the congress. However, they are said to be worried that Mmolotsi might influence Gaolathe and others to refuse to appear before the disciplinary committee given his utterances at Letlhabile where he revealed that currently the BMD disciplinary committee is not functional.
Should the BMD wrangling end up at the courts of law, BOPEU is expected to pay legal bills for the Modubule faction while Gaolathe’s faction will be looking to BOFEPUSU for financial assistance. In a brief interview on Monday, Head of the Institute for Labour and Employment Studies Kago Mokotedi said he was not aware of the meeting but could only confirm that the faction uses their boardroom facilities.