Toxic relations between Botswana National Front (BNF) President Advocate Duma Boko and his deputy Dr. Prince Dibeela is now playing out in the open, Botswana Guardian has learnt.
The two have been keeping their differences a close guarded secret, the strained relationship that has affected the entire BNF Central Committee. In the recent developments Adv. Boko left the party without an acting President when he went on a Parliamentary assignment outside the country.
According to sources, the president took this decision after his deputy failed to follow strict instructions given to him while Adv. Boko was away on official assignment some weeks back. It is alleged that the President had told Dr. Dibeela that he should convene a Central Committee meeting with a specific item that the meeting should discuss the party’s preparedness for its primary elections and the Mochudi East bye-election.
Adv. Boko left on Sunday for Azerbaijan on official trip as an election observer after addressing a Democratic Alliance (DA) Congress in South Africa. The 18-member central committee is divided into two factions- one supporting Boko and the other on Dr Dibeela’s books.
On Advocate Boko’s corner is said to be Moeti Mohwasa, the Secretary General; Justin Hunyepa, the Publicity Secretary; Tona Mooketsi, the Organising Secretary; and Kwenantle Gaseitsiwe, an additional member. The remaining 12 members on the other hand are with Dr Dibeela. Dr. Dibeela’s faction is also said to be planning Advocate Boko’s downfall as it pushes for a special congress this year.
“Dr Dibeela did not bring the letter to the meeting. The central committee discussed other issues other than those the president directed. One of them was to bolt out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). It is now in the open that the two’s toxic relationship cannot be hidden anymore. As we speak the party does not have acting president as should be the case,” said an insider. This is said to have annoyed Adv. Boko who also plans to suspend the deputy president. The BNF President has also appointed MP for Kanye South Abraham Kesupile acting Leader of Opposition. He had recently appointed MP for Ghanzi North also BNF Treasurer Noah Salakae. Salakae is associated with Dr Dibeela’s camp and Adv. Boko is said to have deliberately appointed Salakae as LOO just to get back at Dr Dibeela.
BNF Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa said people are blowing out of proportion the relationship between the president and his deputy. He said as politicians they would always differ on some issues but that does not mean the relationship is toxic. Hunyepa stated that Adv. Boko did not appoint anyone on acting basis because he would not be gone for a long time. Boko is expected back in the country tomorrow (Saturday). Hunyepa could however not describe his definition of short or long time.
“Frankly speaking, I hardly hear of acting president in both ruling and other opposition parties though the presidents travel internationally. Ndaba Gaolathe of Alliance for Progressives, Advocate Sidney Pilane of BMD and Dumelang Saleshando of BCP all have had international travel but I have not heard of someone acting in their respective political organisations,” said the publicity secretary.
He also did not want to be drawn into discussing the alleged defying of the president by his deputy. Dr. Dibeela could not be reached for comment as his phone rang unanswered and had not responded to a message sent to him through WhatsApp at press time.
The rivalry between the two BNF leaders started when Botswana Congress Party (BCP) joined Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Dr Dibeela’s faction is said to have been in support of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) disagreement on the BCP membership in the UDC.
At the time before the BMD split its President Ndaba Gaolathe was said to be one of those who were not happy with the arrangement at UDC inclusive of BCP. Following the BMD split Dr. Dibeela’s led faction called for the removal of the BMD from UDC because it was now the weakest link in the coalition.