The Botswana National Front (BNF) will be commemorating 50 years of political existence on the 28 November 2015. The party was formed in 1965 by the late party icons Dr Kenneth Koma and Daniel Kwele. This was immediately after the first general elections that were won by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), just before independence. The BNF leaders wanted to have all Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP) splinter parties and other progressive parties united so that there is one strong opposition front to remove the BDP, hence the national front ideology.
Kwele became the first President and later was succeeded by Bathoen Gaseitsiwe in 1969. Gaseitsiwe resigned as Chief of Bangwaketse as he was disgruntled by the way the government undermined chieftainship. Gaseitsiwe was respected and popular in the Ngwaketse district. In the subsequent national elections of 1969, the BNF won all the three Ngwaketse constituencies and these were the only constituencies that the party won in those elections. Ngwaketse has since become BNF stronghold, even to date. Since 1969, the BNF has been the main opposition party.
The party has since grown in leaps and bounds nationally. Its membership cuts across the social classes and has enjoyed the support of youth, students at University of Botswana and Colleges of Education, the middle class, trade unions, urban dwellers, to mention but a few. Like any organisation, it has had its share of challenges and successes.
The party will therefore be celebrating its 50 years of existence on the 28th November 2015 in Mahalapye. Batswana are called upon to celebrate this great party that has contributed so much to the political development of this country and also influenced the socio-economic development of the country. The peace and tranquillity currently enjoyed by all Batswana can be safely associated with the BNF and its brethren the BPP as they did not fan any wars like in other African countries, despite numerous cases of corruption and electoral fraud.
As a reason to celebrate this milestone, there will be numerous rallies in Mahalapye and other areas addressed by party leaders as a build up to the final celebration day. Due to lack of political party funding, BNF Members, well wishers and other peace loving Batswana are called upon to assist in the success of this day by contributing to the party in monetary terms or in kind. There will be Dinner Dance on 27 November in Mahalapye and tickets are available. Dr Koma’s tombstone will also be unveiled on the 28 November. Be part of the history.