Triple M: Enemies of opposition unity

05th July 2017
FRONT PAGE Source:The Midweek Sun

Two weeks ahead of the famed Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) elective congress in Bobonong, there is rising anger towards party chairman Nehemiah Modubule, party Secretary General Gilbert Mangole and Dr Tlamelo Mmatli. 

This is because beyond their combative treatment of party president Ndaba Gaolathe and his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi, they are seen to be hell bent on destroying any prospects of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) taking power in 2019. The permeating mood is that of a people who accuse Modubule and company of practically working against what is seen as a national dream. 

The majority of people active in politics are looking forward to 2019, the year of national polls, with the view of seeing the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) make way for a united opposition to take over the reigns. And with the recent enlisting of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to join the Botswana People’s Party (BPP), Botswana National Front (BNF) and the BMD in the united opposition project, many were beginning to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, with the only problem left to deal with being the allocation of constituencies and government related roles to those who would be in power. 

Now the recent bickering within the orange Movement has dampened the spirits of many, with popular opinion suggesting that without the BMD, the national dream might fail. There is thus overall defiance across the opposition parties with political activists labelling the trio of Mangole, Mmatli and Modubule, and to an extent Sydney Pilane, as enemies of a united opposition. 

Pilane is added to the equation as he is widely seen as the man behind the fighting inside the BMD. Popular opinion suggests that his decision to rejoin the party he had dumped in difficult times is the one dividing the party. Some, as in Ndaba and company, see his comeback as opportunistic and intended to sell their party’s soul to the highest bidder, while others like Mangole and company, see Pilane as a God-sent saviour who can lead the party to greater heights. Yet people continue to read malice in the intentions of Mangole and Modubule in readmitting Pilane into the party – accusing the men of fronting for a bigger force hell bent on destroying the BMD, and by extension, the UDC prospects of taking power. 

All these months, talk has been about the timing of the decisions that brought instability into the party – that the three or four men have in the process undermined the importance of opposition unity. This week, talk is about the expulsions on Ndaba and his faction members, with many saying the expulsions gave credence to g time fears that Mangole’s faction want to give Pilane the party on a silver platter. 

But with the mood looking to sway more in Ndaba’s support, reports emerging now is that Modubule might postpone the Congress to allow temperatures to cool. It is widely believed that because the Congress might spell doom to the political ambitions of especially Modubule, Mangole and Mmatli, referred collectively as Triple M, the trio might conjure up a plan to call off the Congress at the eleventh hour, and to catch their opponents off-guard. However, Modubule told The Midweek Sun this week that there was no way the Congress will be postponed. It thus remains to be seen over the next fortnight, what will unfold within the BMD that is now threatening to split into two parties.

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