Party comrades divided ahead of Congress
Political analysts opine that the upcoming Botswana National Front (BNF) elective congress scheduled for July, which is already being challenged in court, has the potential to break the party rather than build it.
Two BNF members Kgakgamatso Kebiditswe and Tlamelo Mpodi, belonging to the lobby list of presidential aspirant Dr Baatlhodi Molatllhegi, have dragged the party to court ahead of the congress. The duo argue that the faction led by BNF President Duma Boko is abusing incumbency so as to rig elections where new leadership will be elected at congress.
Due to the rising tensions inside the BNF, political experts predict factions will tear the party apart. Political and Administrative Studies lecturer at the University of Botswana (UB) Mokaloba Mokaloba, said factions and court matters ahead of elective congresses have become part of BNF DNA. “This seems to be the culture of BNF. Stability has been eluding them for a while so the current court case is not new. The BNF needs to improve on the management of its factional wars as well as managing internal and democratic issues. Otherwise the issues will always repeat themselves,” he said.
Another political commentator, Kitso Morekisi said BNF is under the most dire situation ever in its existence. He said the emergence of Dr Molatlhegi camp to contest the party presidency has signalled a wakeup call to Boko.
According to him, the incumbent BNF central committee always purge any member who raises his or her hand to critique or even challenge Boko, thus destroying inner party democracy. “One thing that would finish off BNF after this coming elective congress if the party is not careful is that there has been some signs of hostility to members who demand transparency in the party. The emergence of Bucs has definitely caused a lot hatred in the BNF. As a result, the aspect of democracy which is the core principle of BNF foundation seems to be disregarded of late,” said Morekisi.
Furthermore, Morekisi said the women and youth congresses were also challenged, which should be a matter of concern to the BNF. He noted that the instability and controversies surrounding the upcoming congress are a clear demonstration that the BNF house is broken. “The current court case filed by members of Dr Molatlhegi’s camp is likely to put the future of the elective congress into uncertainty. The central committee, which is occupying office, must act in a transparent manner and avail the voters roll to Molatlhegi camp. The congress will divide BNF,” he said.
Meanwhile, the matter under which Kebiditswe and Mpodi will continue next week before Gaborone High Court Judge Gabriel Komboni, with BNF president Duma Boko representing BNF. Justice Komboni set 7th July for the matter to continue after the two parties filed heads of argument. The duo are asking court to direct the BNF to ensure that the party, through central committee, appoint independent election adjudicators, publish voters roll and avail it to all members.
In addition, they also want the central committee to appoint a crisis resolution committee that will deal with the internal resolution of disputes amidst allegations of elections rigging at the congress.
In his founding affidavit before the court, BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa dismissed the duo.According to him, the BNF has put in place what applicants are demanding such as dispute resolution mechanisms. “The Executive Committee of which I was part of, on the 20th April 2022 resolved to appoint and indeed appointed a Dispute Resolution Committee (hereinafter referred to as the “DRC’’), comprising myself, Mrs. Abigail Mogalakwe, Nelson Ramaotwana, Justin Hunyepa and Tona Mooketsi,” he stated.
This week the two presidential lobby lists led by incumbent BNF president Duma Boko and Dr Baatlhodi Bucs Molatlhegi released their final lobby lists with campaigns to canvass votes heating up.
Political commentator Kitso Morekisi said the lobby lists comprise of experienced BNF cadres. He noted that Boko and Dr Molatlhegi are well capable and could turn the fortunes of the party. “The two camps comprise of very experienced politicians in BNF and everyone has the capacity to lead the party. Any lobby list that wins the elections should then focus of uniting the party instead of settling the scores. BNF needs to be strategic in building itself or risk losing members,” he warned.
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