Things are falling apart in the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the centre can no longer hold, with some party members suggesting that the party is disintergrating primarily because there is no centre.
The party’s maverick leader advocate Duma Boko is accused of taking the party down the political drain by making decision without consulting the National Executive Committee (NEC). What was supposed to have been a press briefing about the issuance of writ of elections by the party Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa was hijacked by the Veterans Committee chairman Patrick Kgoadi who took a pot shot at the party leadership.
Kgoadi who was asked to brief the media about their council and its role after their election in Mahalapye took Mohwasa by surprise by informing the media that they want BNF to exit the coalition. “We want BNF to exit UDC in its current form and disassociate itself from the South African Democratic Alliance party with immediate effect and ally itself with progressive forces,” he hit out.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane was the keynote speaker at the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) congress in February this year with Boko reciprocating by attending their congress in South Africa recently and giving a solidarity message.
Kgoadi who is an attorney by training and one of the drafter of the BNF constitution said that BNF should align itself with liberation movements in the region like African National Congress (ANC) , South African Communist Party (SACP) and Mozambique’s Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO).
Kgoadi said that BNF should form an alliance with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and trade unions like Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU) in order to liberate Batswana. He called on BNF leadership to stop alienating the masses as the party’s roots are rooted with the masses.
Mohwasa downplayed the issue stating that the position paper of the Veterans Committee is not final as it has to be presented to the NEC first. “The NEC is the one that will take decision and it will be final and all the committee must abide by it,” he said.
He said that the Veterans is recognised by the constitution of BNF under Section 44.3.1 which states that “there shall be a Botswana National Front Veterans Association of which the membership shall be open to any BNF member who have been a party member for a continuous period of twenty-five (25) years, and is no longer politically active in the sense of the said member being no longer politically active in the sense of the said member being no longer a member of and/or not aspiring to be a member of any elective position in the structures of the BNF and or in the political local authorities and or the National Assembly”.
Mohwasa said the committee falls under the office of Secretary General and before they make any statement they have to inform the secretariat first. The latest manifestation of lack of cohesion and apparent confusion in the party is the drama over the identity of the party and its leader’s close association with Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD)’s President Sydney Pilane.
Highly placed sources within the party have revealed that the Women and Youth League will also release similar statement as that of the Committee of Elders. The unseemly spectacle has been dramatised on social media with Boko hitting back at the council of elder’s suggestion that they should exit UDC . "UDC or nothing! I aint playing dice here,” he posted.
The crisis has also been evident in a game of ping-pong between Boko and some members of the NEC who have expressed disdain on how he is running both the BNF and UDC.