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Confusion reigns as BMD congress nears

ONALENNA KELEBEILE TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
The UDC's future will be tested by the outcome of the weekend events
SELEBI-PHIKWE: The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)’s Bobirwa, Mmadinare and Selebi-Phikwe (BOMASE) region says it is in the dark about preparations for the party’s decisive congress set to take place over the weekend in the area.

Factions in the party, led by expelled president, Ndaba Gaolathe and chairperson, Nehemiah Modubule are set for a showdown after months of tensions, attacks and counterattacks. Threats of violence are also in the air, as activists have vowed to pursue their interests without compromise.

Yesterday, the BMD’s BOMASE regional chairperson, Joseph Dintwa said the area was being sidelined in the preparations for the congress by those presently at the helm of the party. Dintwa is also a member of the BMD’s National Executive Committee (NEC), its highest decision-making body.

BOMASE is one of nine BMD regions that on Monday demanded the unconditional reinstatement of Gaolathe and other expelled members. “The congress is on as planned, but we know nothing as the regional committee,” Dintwa told Mmegi. 

“The region was not even officially informed that we are the hosts of the congress,” he said. Dintwa said party leaders had chosen to engage some individual members of the branch committee to help organise the national congress.  “It appears that the regional committee will just be ordinary members at the congress. The regional committee should be the one doing all the preparations and reporting to the NEC not the other way round. 

“As it stands, we can even be informed by the NEC that the food is ready, while we are there on the ground, waiting,” he said. The hostile situation in the BMD has intensified ahead of the weekend congress.  Last week, reports emerged suggesting the congress would fail as its planned venue, Matshekge Hill School was “out of bounds”.

This week, sources in the BMD said the venue was

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available and the previous reports were designed to encourage apathy. In addition, some members have suggested that the NEC, led by Modubule, has identified its own delegates from within the branches, while the branches themselves have elected their own.

Meanwhile, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) plans to use its weekend conference to discuss the court case in which they are challenging the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the 2019 general election.  Secretary general, Kentse Rammidi told journalists yesterday that the upcoming conference would review the case and chart the way forward, looking at the possibilities of either winning or losing the case. 

“This case might cost the party a lot of money and we actually had to raise funds for it. The party’s central committee needs a mandate from the members on the way forward in the event of any outcome of the matter.  “We hope the Botswana National Front will also make a resolution at their party conference on the same matter.

Again, our party will have to discuss with other affiliated members of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) on the issue,” Rammidi said.  He said the conference would also discuss the dates for the BCP’s primary elections in the 17 constituencies allocated under the UDC deal. 

“The IEC does not have supplementary registration and the party will have to act quickly because we do not want to be caught off guard when dates are announced. When IEC announces dates for registration, our party should have candidates ready, allowing us to work hard in order to win those constituencies,” he said. 



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