Botswana National Front (BNF) Veterans Association has accused the party’s Central Committee of snubbing them.
The association Chairman Patrick Kgoadi said their report was not discussed during the Rakops conference. He said they had hoped that the Central Committee would have called them to a meeting through Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa where the report would be discussed. Kgoadi stated that the veterans have sought a meeting with the Central Committee since April 2018.
“The veterans seek advice and clarification on central committee’s failure to hold meetings. The Executive Committee which runs the affairs of the Central Committee between scheduled meetings of the Central Committee and the Central Committee which runs the BNF between Congresses and Conferences has been failing to meet. As the veterans we demand explanation,” said Kgoadi.
He indicated that in the build-up to the conference, BNF President Advocate Duma Boko wrote letters dated 17th May 2018 to the Regions for them to submit reports, a duty he said falls under secretary general’s office. He questioned if this means Mohwasa is failing his office and if so has the party leadership reprimanded him.
“On the issue regarding the Treasurer General’s office, funds to finance the Rakops 2018 Conference and buses have been reported to be paid for by the President. Is there a change of policy of the BNF that all activities would be financed by the President in his personal capacity or by the BNF?
“How much has been expended. Has the Central Committee sanctioned such activity of funding BNF activities?” asked Kgoadi adding that they want answers from the leadership.
The veterans are this weekend meeting in Kanye to mobilise members. Kgoadi revealed that they are mobilising members in all the regions. He said hey want BNF veterans to be part of the veterans’ association.
He indicated that at the meeting they would also discuss status of the BNF and the developments in the UDC. BNF veterans have been calling on the BNF to leave the UDC and start talks with other political movements and unions.
The veteran association was formed through a resolution during a BNF Conference in Mahalapye in 2001. It was recognized as one of the party’s organs in Mahalapye recently. The association is the only BNF structure that has called on the party to leave UDC.
BNF Information and Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa said there is no may the Central Committee would refuse to meet an auxiliary body of the party. He said the issues that the veterans want discussed with the central committee could have been discussed during the party’s last month conference in Rakops.
“Veterans as an auxiliary body just like Youth League and Women’s League were at the conference. They were participating in the three commissions where issues were discussed.
They could have raised those issues during the commission for discussions,” said Hunyepa advising the veterans to follow-up with the party’s secretary general if they have any other outstanding issues.
Hunyepa said being the elders of the party the veterans are supposed to know the procedure within the BNF.
National Treasurer of the Botswana National Front (BNF) Noah Salakae shocked many people this week when he revealed that the party is run by the president’s bodyguards.
According to the BNF Constitution, President Advocate Duma Boko’s bodyguards would not even be allowed to sit in any Central Committee meetings. This doubt has now raised questions regarding the powers of the central committee to run the affairs of the BNF.
In his crucial portfolio of National Treasurer, Salakae’s utterances cannot be taken for granted. He sits not only on the central committee but also on the Executive Committee.
In his resignation letter which was circulated on social media which he would later withdraw Salakae said, “at the height of my resignation is the manner in which the BNF/UDC is run. The BNF CC remains only in name because it is run by Comrade Boko’s bodyguards.
“The BNF Executive Committee never meets. Ever since the AP comrades left we are still to meet as the UDC Parliamentary Caucus to mention but a few. We can’t open up on these truths as the CC because of the love and respect we have for the BNF and its members”.
At its recent conference in Rakops, Boko said there has to be a valid reason that warrants for the meeting of the Central committee. He said central committee members know that if one of them wants a meeting he or she has to make a short write-up. The write-up, according to Advocate Boko, is forwarded to the Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa who then engages the president.
“We don’t have to meet to pass time. We meet for serious issues. The matter has to be notified three (3) days before the meeting. We cannot run government with gossip, we have to be serious,” he told the delegates. Confronted about the letter he authored, Salakae was reluctant to speak to the issue of the bodyguards. He told this publication that he would not discuss contents of the letter with the media. Salakae explained that it was unfortunate that the letter was leaked to the media and the public while it was only for internal consumption of the central committee through the party’s Secretary General.
He dismissed claims that he had to rush to resign because of a communication he had with other people where he attacked the leadership of the BNF. In a leaked conversation which Salakae had with one of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) activists (known to this publication), Salakae expressed his misgivings that the UDC cannot be saved with Advocate Boko as the face of the project. “We cannot with Boko.
Everybody including Kago, Kwenantle and Moeti who appear to (be) supporting Boko in public tell us in privacy how frustrated they are with him. They don’t want him. So we can’t save the project using Boko as the face. People are going to leave silently because in the first place comrades make the mistake of theorizing the UDC dilemma yet Boko is very clear that politics of ideology live in the past.
“He told us that point blatantly at some point. We just can’t win anything with Boko because though he is intelligent he lacks honesty, wisdom and respect on other people,” reads a conversation which Salakae shared with the BCP activist who shared it with BCP executive then some relayed it to Advocate Boko. Salakae would also not want to be drawn into discussing this conversation saying he would not discuss internal matters with the media. However, it is understood this is the message that drove Salakae to draft the letter which he shared with his colleagues from the BNF Central Committee and got leaked before reaching the Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa.
Mohwasa could not be reached for comment. BNF Publicity Secretary Justin Hunyepa said he could not comment on matters that were not communicated with the party. He indicated that if Salakae has a problem with leadership, as part of the central committee, he knows the proper channels to follow. He dismissed the claim that Boko’s bodyguards run the party as “not possible” adding, it would never be possible for people not mandated by the BNF membership to run the affairs of the BNF.
According to Hunyepa every leader within the central committee knows his or her portfolio and there is no one who will take the other’s assignments. Kago Mokotedi refuted the comments in the conversation indicating that the author of the message is better placed to explain his words. Kwenantle Gaseitsiwe said there is no truth regarding his name in the conversation. “I do not hold private talks. I speak at puo-phaa platforms so what is being said about my name is not true,” Gaseitsewe said.
Tensions between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) contracting partners, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana National Front (BNF) over constituency allocation are at their zenith.
It is a marriage gone wrong for the once darlings of the coalition who are now at each other’s throats over two constituencies- Moshupa/Manyana and Mmopane/Lentsweletau. When constituencies were allocated BMD and BNF were to hold bilateral talks on the two constituencies and decide who gets what.
Both parties are fighting tooth and nail to claim the constituencies. In fact, BMD has since indicated that the two belong to it and the party has already announced its candidates for the 2019 general election. On the other hand, BNF would not allow that.
What broke the camel’s back was last week’s pronouncement by BMD on the constituencies.
BMD leadership has made it clear that there is nothing to negotiate about the constituencies because it is a closed matter.
BNF is said to now be preparing to unleash war on BMD regarding some of the constituencies. The BNF would also not allow BMD to try and humiliate it by making pronouncement on matters that are still internal. The BNF is said to also be planning to reclaim Gabane-Mmankgodi which is now under the watch of the BMD. BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa this week quashed claims by BMD.
“The BNF would like to correct the picture that is being created that a resolution has been reached regarding the impasse over the allocation of Moshupa-Manyana and Ntsweletau-Mmopane constituencies as the reports coming from the recent BMD press conference seems to suggest.
“While it is not our position to publicly discuss matters that are a subject of discussion with our partners, in the interest of ensuring that the nation and our members are not confused and fed with wrong information, we are compelled to set the record straight,” Mohwasa said.
Giving a brief history regarding the constituencies Mohwasa explained that after the completion of the Talks with BCP, the old UDC (which then comprised the BMD, BNF and the Botswana People’s Party) got 40 constituencies while the BCP got 17.
At a meeting held to divide the constituencies amongst the old UDC members, the BNF and BMD felt entitled to both Moshupa/Manyana and Ntsweletau/Mmopane, said Mohwasa who is also UDC Head of Communications. “A decision was then made that the allocation of these constituencies be a subject of bilateral (talks) between the two parties.
“It was however not possible to engage the BMD because of the leadership challenges it had then until just recently, which we are all aware of. Ourselves and the BMD hold two divergent and strong views regarding who should manage these constituencies on behalf of the UDC. For the BNF, at present, the two constituencies remain un-allocated.
“We believe a sober engagement between the two parties can assist resolve this matter and avoid the fermenting of tensions within the UDC, which regrettably is the case currently,” stated Mohwasa. He revealed that the holding of bi-laterals by parties within the UDC on matters of common concern will help strengthen unity.
Mohwasa maintained that in acknowledgement of the importance of bi-laterals, the BNF central committee at its most recent meeting, resolved to hold bi-laterals with all its partners within the UDC and the labour federations immediately after the forth-coming Annual Conference, to be held under the theme, “Ensuring BNF Unity Now and UDC Victory in 2019”.
“We would like to appeal to all our partners within the UDC to always engage each other meaningfully and avoid making solo and arbitrary decisions as this has the potential of destabilising the People’s project.
Dealing with our differences in such a manner can lead to others taking the same route, which could lead to anarchy. “We will not agree all the time, but what is important is how we handle our contradictions. The BNF calls upon its members to remain calm and avoid any acts that have the potential to tarnish the good image of the UDC. We remain hopeful that a lasting solution will be found,” said Mohwasa.
BMD Secretary General Gilbert Mangole maintained that there is no issue. According to Mangole, BNF has 22 constituencies as per the announcement by UDC leader Advocate Duma Boko. He indicated that should the disputed constituencies be given to BNF it would now mean they have 24 constituencies and BMD would have 11 constituencies.
“We have written to BNF stating that they have to make a formal request if they want us to give them the two constituencies just like what Botswana Congress Party did. Without that there is nothing to talk about because those constituencies are for BMD,” he said. Mangole wondered why the BNF would now also want to claim Gabane-Mankgodi and Gaborone Bonnington South.