Long before they acquire formal status as a political party, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) has been forced to parry blows and counter the onslaught from political opponents, playing out on social media.
BPF social media pages and brand representations have attracted mixed reactions from users, and on Friday Roseline Panzirah Matshome, issued a statement dismissing the accounts as fictitious pages created in their name. She said the fake pages were created by their enemies, particularly "mischievous elements of the notorious Cava faction of the moribund Botswana Democratic Party(BDP)". "This is not surprising since we know the gang that has captured the BDP is shaken and desperate, faced with the real prospect of losing power. This is also consistent with their ethics in the true tradition of their use of pseudo accounts to attack fellow citizens. We are strongly opposed to the unethical and unreliable nature of those currently in possession of the BDP," she wrote.
Matshome said in the next couple of weeks they will establish and launch party slogans, symbols and messaging before the official launch of the party. She said currently the party does not have any social media pages or a logo and other brand representations. She said process of registration of the party is ongoing and only upon its conclusion shall they have Facebook pages, slogans and symbols.
After months of speculation about at split of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), last week the ruling party delivered a bubbly child, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). The new kid on the block was announced last weekend in a packed meeting in Serowe where former President Ian Khama also dumped the BDP and promised to support the new party.
The interim leader of BPF, former cabinet minister Biggie Butale announced that they are going to work with opposition parties especially the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Butale let the cat out when he said that already they have started talks with other opposition parties on possibilities of forming a coalition in order to unseat the ruling party in October general elections.
He accused President Mokgweetsi Masisi of running a rudderless, inept and incompetent government that has failed to deliver good governance to the people of Botswana.
Highly placed sources within and outside BPF have revealed that the party is well resourced especially financially as their godfather former President Khama has managed to raise funds for them.
In the early meetings between some UDC leaders, BPF leaders are said to have promised a well-resourced campaign that will take the ruling party head on. The yet to be officially registered party is said to have asked to be given most of the constituencies in the central district and in places where they currently have incumbent Members of Parliament , which include Tati East held by Samson Moyo Guma and Tati West under Butale.
UDC Publicity Secretary Moeti Mohwasa said that the main purpose of the UDC is unite all opposition hence they continue courting AP to join the alliance. “They have not written to us and if they do, we will look at their proposal and see if we can work with them to unseat the ruling party,” he said.
He denied that they have already met with the leaders of the new party insisting that they are waiting for their proposal.
Butale announced in Serowe that they are going to hold their inaugural congress in June on a date to be announced and review the draft manifesto which has already been sent to members. At the congress, BPF will define their political path which he said it is to work with other opposition parties to unseat the BDP.
Addressing his supporters in Serowe last week, Khama revealed that he is going to work with all opposition parties and some BDP parliamentary candidates whom he said are honest politicians. Although he didn’t mention if he will support them financially, sources close to the former president have revealed that his friends are ready to roll out funds for his course.
Khama recently visited South Africa to meet his longtime friend, businesswoman and mining mogul Bridgette Motsepe Radebe in what was viewed as part of raising funds for BPF. Radebe, who has been slapped with visa restrictions, was recently caught in an audio conversation with former head of Protocol Daphne Kadiwa saying she can talk to her brother to buy an aircraft for Khama. She is the sister to South African richest black man Patrice Motsepe who is also one of Africa’s richest individuals.
Former President Khama has openly stated that he is going to launch opposition candidates and the first to be launched is UDC parliamentary candidate for Boteti West Sam Digwa. He also revealed that he will launch BPF members Biggie Butale and Samson Moyo Guma for Tati West and East respectively. Some of the candidates which he is expected to campaign for include UDC parliamentary candidate for Ramokgonami-Sefhare Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang who is standing against Dorcus Makgato.