Some members of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) say they have realized that they share membership numbers with other members of the party.
According to sources within the party, this row is a product of the ongoing infighting between the party’s two factions currently bitterly divided over Sidney Pilane’s readmission into the party.
Allegations flying between the factions suggest that they both have machines which produce membership cards on top of the one the party has at its offices. “The idea is to eliminate us from the voter’s roll so that when we get to the Congress, we do not vote while their delegates vote as they would be having membership cards;” an anti-Pilane source said.
A pro-Pilane source however, accused the opposition faction of trying to divert from the truth because it is the one with such a machine.
A party member commenting anonymously said he realized that his membership number was also given to someone else in the party after seeing his number printed on the other member’s regalia which was posted on Facebook.
He says he got his original party number in 2010 after approaching the party in July the same year, following the announcement that party membership numbers 1 to 100 would be bought for P1000. He had not originally bought the number, but ended up paying the whole amount to get himself a membership number in the 1 to 100 range.
“I have the card with me. I learnt about my number being given to someone else after another party member who knows my number saw my number printed on another member’s party regalia on Facebook. I was shocked to find this out and immediately contacted the Secretary General’s office,” he explained. He was not able to get clarity on the matter from the party’s administration office.
Reached for comment, Party Secretary General Gilbert Mangole explained that upon reconciling the membership registration book at the beginning of the year, they noticed that some members in the range 1 to 100 had not registered or paid, there by leaving the spaces available.
“Officers called members who had not paid to ask for payment or whether the number should be given away to other members. Some of the people hurled insults at this officers,” he said. Mangole said following the lack of cooperation, the party was left with no option but to re-sell the numbers.
Mangole also said they were currently investigating a matter in which a member of the party came to claim a number which is not his. His number, according to Mangole, did not correspond with the one recorded in the membership registration form. He said that this case was one of the cases that the party was currently dealing with. “We are concerned because there may be a possibility that membership cards are being produced elsewhere other than by office,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mangole said card production was in progress following donations from different individuals. “Let us admit that due to shortage of manpower and funds, we stayed for a long time without membership cards; that is why in some congresses, some delegates voted using their National Identity cards,” he said.
“The party has been able to produce membership cards because many people including those who are said to be getting money from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services have come through and assisted us financially,” Mangole emphasized.
Going forward, he said, all members will use membership cards to vote like it was done during the Francistown East Phillip Matante primary election held in April.