Dear Moononites, I am avoiding every temptation to say much before my speech at congress, which speech contains a window to my soul, a crisp view of the possibilities for our nation and the firm belief that you carry the keys to unlock this possibility.
So for now I will hold my horses, and attend to the conveyance of my good wishes to you as you travel to the venue of our congress, Gantsi.
It is chilly at night-time, please carry your warmest jackets, and if you don’t mind borrow your uncle’s or auntie’s ‘mhlangomas’ the old-fashioned long ones. Carry your blankets too, the heaviest one at your house. Importantly, bring with you an open heart as well as a sense of purpose and responsibility.
You are a generation whose work and deeds will shape the future of this country – please comprehend this enormous responsibility. And during this congress you will be mediators in a spirited competition for positions of responsibility. Please do hand to our party, and indeed to the people of Botswana a team that reflects our promise to value excellence and sound character.
There should be no exceptions – and if need be, start right at the top, with your President – if he does not possess these attributes, or he does not represent the ideals for which the late President Gomolemo Motswaledi lived and departed by, the ideals which we now must jealously guard – then find a leader who does and who will inspire us to attain freedom for our people. Nourish your sense of maturity, so that you learn to embrace that people can differ in perspective and style, so that if they run for the same role against each other, it does not mean they do not love each other.
The supporters of one candidate can still love the supporters of another candidate and yet exercise their right to vote differently. We are fortunate to have so many leaders of quality in one roof, it is a sign of growth and of the seriousness of our mission. So yee great moononites, match down the path to Gantsi and plant the seeds for a new Botswana.
You can do this, you can do this without undue suspicions against one another. Our people are depending on you, and they do have a keen eye for good people – our people can see through into our souls, and in everything we do, we must remember this.”
Modubule vs Mokgware
This is a battle in which results will leave many party members calling for a re-run. Modubule has been in politics since the time Mokgware was a commander of the ground forces at the Botswana Defence Force. He spent three terms in Parliament – from 1999 up until he lost in 2014. He sat in high positions, at one time assumed the reigns as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
Unfortunately he lost at a time when the movement he had helped set up was on a winning streak.
Mokgware on the other hand has proved to be a formidable force that the National Assembly needs to tackle the ever powerful executive arm of government.
He is the new breed of MPs who have inside information on the past transactions of government, and his speciality is in the military. With a wealth of experience in military operations, including covert operations such as intelligence, Mokgware is what a new opposition coalition, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), needs if it is to survive this harsh terrain of Botswana and African politics. Posted on social media, July 15th 2015
Mangole vs Kgoroba
Mangole is enjoying a second term in Parliament representing Kgatleng West. He was among the first four MPs who unveiled the BMD in April 2010, when the party was launched in Mogoditshane. He is a confident speaker in the National Assembly and engages members on the other side of the floor.
A former footballer of the legends of the 1980s and 1990s, Sedirwa ‘Chilly’ Kgoroba is a newcomer in parliamentary politics and is yet to prove himself. However, his victory over the mighty Patrick Masimolole of the BDP in last year’s general elections should not be undermined. Even he has admitted that the victory shocked him, and on the night of the ballot counting, he had covered himself in blankets in his house.
* The road to 2019 – the party is going to have to come up with a strategy to win 2019 elections.
* Growth of the party and outreach to the whole nation
* Report from Mochudi Youth league congress
* Financial sustainability of the party and fund raising and mobilisation of its structures
* Discipline in the party
* Information dissemination to the people and the media
Mmatli vs Butale (Policy)
Mmatli is one of the new MPs who shocked the nation when he dethroned veteran BDP MP Daniel Kwelagobe – who had had been in Parliament for more than four decades – in the Molepolole South constituency. Those who witnessed the counting say a 911 ambulance had to be on standby for more than 10 hours as DK demanded a re-count three times.
Just as Mmatli was a shocker in Molepolole, Butale also pulled a surprise. Having been roped in less than two months to the general elections following the death of Gomolemo Motswaledi, the then South Africa-based freedom of expression activist, did the unthinkable, beating a confident president of the Botswana Congress Party, Dumelang Saleshando to be the MP for Gaborone Central. Butale is one of the rubble rousers in Parliament, who just last week was seen carried and dumped outside the House. The two are yet to prove themselves to be entrusted with the same positions in 2019. They will accept the results.
The Pilane Factor
As the BMD descends to Gantsi over the long weekend, there is one issue that will be in a lot of minds – the recent application by prominent lawyer Sidney Pilane to rejoin BMD. The issue, we are informed, has divided the party but it will not be on the agenda as it should be resolved by the National Executive Committee.
“Yes, the Pilane issue has divided the membership, there are those who say he should be allowed back and those who say No,” said a prominent BMD member. The main issue is the cloud under which he left the party, and that he left at a time when the party needed him most, said the member.
The member alleges that Pilane’s departure was motivated by a promise that he was going to be appointed judge of the High Court.
“Obviously, for one to be promised that position there has to be concessions, promises and even possible conniving. We feel that he should not be part of us since he worked with our opponents,” said the member.
According to the member, Pilane applied through the Gaborone North region and the new National Executive Committee matter will look at the matter and make a decision.
Whilst it is its second elective congress, some members are worried that there are some elements that might infiltrate the party congress and vote on instructions from a hidden hand.
“Yes, the party structures in some areas are not very functional and we are likely to have delegates voting on behalf of an invisible hand,” said a member.
Pilane’s reponse to our enquiries this week was very brief. “I am back in the BMD. I will not be running for President. It escapes me why my return to BMD should be newsworthy”