Ndaba’s new Party Ready if UDC Falters

  • Launch in October
  • NEC names revealed
  • Could a re-run solve problems?
  • Suspended BDP NYEC members want to join


It’s all systems go for the Ndaba-led faction of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) as the faction gears up for the launch of a new party at the end of October. Preparations for the new breakaway party are said to be at an advanced stage with the party constitution already at proof-reading stage.
The leader of the new party, Ndaba Gaolathe, is scheduled to address the public tomorrow (Wednesday) at Westwood Private School in Gaborone. While many people will be expecting Gaolathe to introduce the new party, insiders say tomorrow’s meeting is a prelude to the official launch and its main objective is to gauge the mood of the public and appreciate how receptive they are to the idea of a new party. ‘‘The Westwood meeting is meant to get the public feel and in a way get their endorsement and approval to the formation of a new party,’’ a highly placed source in the Gaolathe camp confided. Gaolathe is expected to tell the public about the trials and tribulations that his faction has apparently endured at the hands of the Sidney Pilane-led faction and remind the public that time is of the essence as the general elections are fast approaching. ‘‘We cannot continue to be in the political wilderness while the general elections are only less than two years away,’’ a source said.
The founders of the new party have already come up with a few names and party colours that will be adopted after consultations with members and sympathizers. The leadership of the party will be made up of those who were elected at Bobonong. According to information reaching this publication, the national executive committee that was elected at Bobonong Junior Secondary School will be legally confirmed as leadership of the new party once it is registered. It is planned that a convention will be held at the end of October to legitimize the committee and launch the party. Instructively, Gaolathe will become the president while Wynter Mmolotsi will be his deputy. MP for Gabane-Mankgodi Pius Mokgware will become Chairman of the new party while MP for Gaborone Central Phenyo Butale will become Secretary General with Moalosi Sebati continuing as his deputy.
The BMD went to Bobonong in July with two warring factions, one led by Party Chairman, Nehemiah Modubule, Secretary General Gilbert Mangole and MP for Molepolole South Tlamelo Mmatli. The other faction was led by party leader, Gaolathe and Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi. The two factions held parallel congresses, with the Modubule faction holding its congress at Matshekge Senior Secondary where they elected Sidney Pilane as their president. In their deliberations, both factions claimed legitimacy to hold the elective congress.
In parliament, the new party has reportedly been assured of five sitting MP’s in the likes of Gaborone North MP Haskins Nkaigwa, Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi, Gaborone Central MP Phenyo Butale, Mogoditshane MP Sedirwa Kgoroba and Bonnington South MP Ndaba Gaolathe. The Pilane faction will be left with two sitting MPs, being Kgatleng West MP Gilbert Mangole and Molepolole South MP Tlamelo Mmatli. This publication has gathered that the decision to form a new party was realised after the Gaolathe faction lost hope in finding an amicable solution to their differences with the Pilane faction. ‘‘Look, we appreciate efforts by the UDC leadership to mediate between us but we have since realised that the other faction is not amenable to reconciliation,’’ a member of the Gaolathe NEC told this publication. He said they are already almost aware of the verdict that the UDC will make on Tuesday and that it is unhelpful as it throws back the issue to the warring factions. The Pilane faction has been quoted in the media as having vowed never to accept a UDC decision that calls for the re-run of the congress. On the other hand, the Gaolathe faction is of the view the re-run is the only plausible solution to the impasse between the two factions.
The Gaolathe faction is said to be running out of patience with “the many postponements by the UDC leadership” in making their stance on the matter known. By holding a public meeting on Wednesday, the Gaolathe faction is said to be giving the UDC leadership the benefit of doubt as they are expected to pronounce their verdict on Tuesday. Pilane is however quoted in weekend newspapers as having said the UDC has no legal mandate to dictate how the BMD impasse must be resolved and this is said to have diminished all hope that was left in the Gaolathe faction who had hoped the UDC’s decision on Tuesday would be binding to both factions.
The launch of the new party in October is expected to be a ceremony of pomp and glamour as the party is said to have engaged graphic designers and public relations and marketing strategists to drive the launch. The party is also said to have received blessings from leading labour organisations such as BOFEPUSU which is reportedly airing its frustrations at the way UDC leaders are handling the matter. It is also said that the new party enjoys sympathy from some members of the Botswana National Front, Botswana Peoples Party and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. In fact the BNF Youth League has since made their stance known as to which faction they support and their president Khumoekae Richard has made it clear he is unapologetic in his support for Gaolathe. Some BNF members of parliament and executive committee members are also rumoured to be in support of Gaolathe and his new party even though it is said they will not immediately abandon the BNF and join the new party as they fear backlash from their electorates. Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President Dumelang Saleshando told The Botswana Gazette on Monday that he was constrained to comment on allegations of a formation of a new party as he is part of the structure that the BMD factions have appealed to for intervention. For his part, Gaolathe said he will say everything that he has to say at the Wednesday meeting. He however revealed that a lot of people he has encountered are of the view that forming a new party seems the only viable option given the standoff between the two BMD factions. Pilane’s phone was not reachable on Monday.