Members of the newly-formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will hold a meeting tomorrow (Saturday) at Tsholofelo Community Hall in Gaborone to discuss the future of the party. This is the BPF’s - a breakaway party from ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) - first meeting since its founders announced their decision to dump the BDP.
The party also has the blessing of former President Dr Ian Khama who has since also dumped the BDP. Dr Khama has told international media that where possible he will be giving support to BPF. Information gathered by this publication is that the weekend meeting will discuss the party slogan, colours, constitution and special congress at which an interim committee will be elected. It is alleged that a copy of the draft constitution has been shared with party members across the country for perusal and input before a final draft is sent to Registrar of Societies sometimes next week.
Some key players in the formation of the party who have not yet been revealed are expected to also be unveiled at the meeting some of which are said to have been long serving members of the BDP especially at Tsholetsa house. According to sources each constituency is expected to send two representatives to the meeting. While there are claims that the new party would dent the BDP’s fortunes in this year’s national polls, the ruling party has since pointed out that it is more organised and united to retain power.
The BPF is made up of mostly supporters of Dr Khama and those who rallied behind Member of Parliament for Serowe South and former cabinet member Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi when she challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency.
Dr Venson-Moitoi pulled out from the race at the last minute in Kang indicating that the elections would not be free and fair and she was not ready to legitimise them by taking part. This week Dr Masisi told Batswana leaving in the United States of America that it is unfortunate that they have lost the former president but all they have to do is move forward. He explained that it was not an avoidable situation and they have to live with it. The president stated that the political cost of retaining Dr Khama was not the cost he (Dr Masisi) was willing to take to the BDP.
Contacted on Wednesday this week BPF Convener Biggie Butale confirmed the meeting. He stated that they are expecting a minimum of two representatives from each of the 57 constituencies. Butale stated that the meeting will discuss the constitution, slogan, colours and registration. He said a congress would be held about two to three weeks after the weekend meeting to elect an interim committee of the party. According to the convener, a former Health assistant minister who was suspended from the BDP before dumping the party, BPF has received overwhelming support across the country than they expected.
He said the BDP is in denial by believing that BPF would not make an impact. “There are two things to be considered here. It is either by targeting key members of the party by Dr Masisi in the central district where the party is a strong hold was a political brilliance.
“Number two if not then, it means it is the opposite of political brilliance and will leave that for the polls to decide. I am disappointed by the president that after having created this mess he went on record to state that if the party loses general elections, he would then quit the presidency.
“He is already conceding. I thought what he was doing was about principle and doing things right for the benefit of the party. Now who is supposed to inherit the mess by someone who cannot stand it after general elections? “If they do not believe that we can make such an impact then let us wait for Election Day,” Butale who is also MP for Tati West revealed.