Thursday, 26 October 2017 15:06

I’ve everything under control

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Advocate Duma Boko says he has everything under control despite claims that the ship is sinking under his watch.

Critics have been vocal that Advocate Boko, who is also President of Botswana National Front, (BNF) is failing his party and the coalition movement. His poor leadership and failure to work with other members of his central committee came under the spotlight when former BNF Youth League President Khumoekae Richard lambasted his once close ally. 

Richard has even labelled Advocate Boko a dictator who cannot liberate Batswana. Richard and some members of the BNFYL have since joined newly-formed Alliance for Progressives (AP).

These critics, according to Advocate Boko, would not shake him. “I know they go around saying things about me. Whatever they are saying about me has made me strong. This is not the first time I have been under this litmus test. I used to be there and I managed to come out victorious and the BNF and the UDC came out of that storm more united and this is what is going to happen,” said Boko in a short interview with this publication. He revealed that he has told both the BNF and UDC supporters not to worry about him.

“At night I sleep peacefully. I suspect those who are making noise do not get a sleep. I have been through rough times and cannot be bothered by some small talks. At the UDC and BNF we are serious and cannot be derailed by small talks that would not change the lives of Batswana,” he told this publication before reiterating his statement at BNF Women League Elective Congress in Kanye over the weekend.

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Published in News
Monday, 18 September 2017 16:00

BNF prepares for first primary elections

Botswana National Front (BNF) this week undertook a situation analysis of the constituencies allocated to it by Umbrella for Democratic Change.

BNF is in a coalition with other opposition parties. BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa revealed on Wednesday that the party central committee and the Electoral Board would be visiting some of the regions among them Southern and South Central to do a situation analysis to prepare for primary elections. 

The BNF according to Mohwasa wants to conduct its first set of primary elections in the last quarter of this year. He said the last round would be done during the first quarter of next year.

“The aim is that by the time registration for general elections starts then we are done with our primaries. We want at that time to solely focus on registering eligible voters for the 2019 general election. This is because primary elections have their own challenges in terms of appeals so we want before October next year to have concluded our internal exercise,” said Mohwasa.

He indicated that Wards in various constituencies allocated the BNF are currently doing audits of membership who will be participating in the primaries. He said membership drive is the responsibility of Wards as per the Constitution of the BNF. He said records of membership from various wards are used to compile a voters’ roll for a constituency.

“The situation analysis would assist us in ensuring that when we hold elections there are no outstanding issues. Some of the regions that we would be visiting there are constituencies that might not be able to hold primaries in the first batch. Moshupa-Manyana and Lentsweletau-Mmopane are within the regions to be visited but would not form part of the first batch of elections”, he said.

Currently BNF and its contracting partner in the Umbrella for Democratic Change coalition, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) have not finalised their differences on the aforementioned constituencies. They both want to bag the two constituencies. Constituency negotiating teams are yet to give report on the two constituencies to the UDC leadership.

Published in News
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 13:16

UDC in disarray

It is now official; Botswana Movement for Democracy virus has spread into the opposition coalition - Umbrella for Democratic Change whose leadership appears divided over the Orange Movement.

Contracting partners of the UDC- Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) this week Wednesday held a scheduled meeting at Oasis Hotel in Tlokweng to discuss among others, the problems afflicting their colleague, the BMD. 

The BMD is currently paralysed after the party held parallel elective congresses in Bobonong where two different National Executive Committees were elected.

On Wednesday a fractured UDC executive committee met at Oasis to deliberate on the BMD issue. Botswana Guardian can safely confirm that BPP was not part of the meeting. Only the BCP and the BNF convened in the meeting that started at 10:30AM and was adjourned at 12:30PM. 

The meeting was attended by among others BNF President Duma Boko and Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and UDC’s Treasurer Dennis Alexander and Taolo Lucas who is UDC’s additional member from the BCP.

According to the current UDC agreement, each party has been given one slot for an additional member to the UDC Executive Committee. It has since emerged that the BPP snubbed the meeting in support of the expelled BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe. 

Gaolathe has been expelled together with his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi. According to sources, the Gaolathe faction met on Tuesday night in Gaborone at Falcon Crest and agreed with BPP to snub Wednesday’s UDC meeting. 

The possibility of forming a new party was discussed at the aforesaid meeting. BPP, especially its leader Motlatsi Molapisi, is a known staunch supporter of Gaolathe. It is said that at the Tuesday meeting the Gaolathe-led faction promised to work with BPP once a new party is formed. The Gaolathe faction has left three options open; going to court; wait for UDC intervention or form a new party.

The majority agreed that they should wait for the outcome of the UDC leadership but if it does not favour them then a new party should be formed. The meeting came after Gaolathe BMD NEC addressed party members this past weekend. Out of the 12 addressed regions, nine (9) called for the formation of a new party, Botswana Guardian has established.

Speaking to Botswana Guardian over the phone after the meeting BPP President who is also UDC Chairman claimed ignorance of the meeting. “I am in Francistown as we speak and I know nothing about the meeting. I was never informed about the meeting. Mohwasa only called me this morning asking how far I am and I told him I know nothing about the meeting or even the agenda,” said the veteran politician. 

He dismissed claims that they snubbed the meeting because they are in support of Gaolathe. He stated that the reason why there is even no one other than him from the BPP attending the meeting clearly shows that there was no communication to the BPP about the meeting. Molapisi has been vocal about the need for intervention by UDC leadership in the BMD mess.

UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa confirmed that BPP did not make it to the meeting. Mohwasa however said there could have been a misunderstanding of the invitations to the meeting. 

“When I enquired they explained that they did not understand the context of the communication. They said they did not know if only presidents are to attend or all members of the executive should attend,” said Mohwasa. 

The UDC spokesperson stated that the BMD matter formed part of the agenda but could not be dealt with because the BPP was not in attendance. He explained that BMD could not be part of the meeting because of the party’s current situation. 

“So our next meeting would be held on the 12th of August in Francistown where the BMD matter would be discussed. The only thing we discussed about the BMD issue is that on top of receiving two reports from both groups, we have also received a letter from the other group from its Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale asking for UDC intervention. So what would be happening (is that) we would be writing to the other group to inform them about this development and ask for their input,” said Mohwasa adding that all the three parties will attend the Francistown meeting.

BMD-Gaolathe led NEC Secretary General Dr Phenyo Butale could not be reached for comment at press time. Part of the problems that the UDC is facing is disagreements between BCP and BMD which date back to 2012. Under the current arrangement BMD is said to have been against BCP joining the UDC. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when the BCP was given the 17 constituencies and Vice Presidency of the UDC. 

At one point when BPP wanted three of BCP’s constituencies it was alleged to be acting in cahoots with BMD with the aim that BPP would later hand them to BMD. BPP enjoyed the support of the BMD during the first Umbrella negotiations, which founded UDC in 2012. BMD at that time was said to have been considering having BPP under its wing through group membership.

 

Published in News
Thursday, 03 August 2017 08:37

UDC in disarray

It is now official; Botswana Movement for Democracy virus has spread into the opposition coalition - Umbrella for Democratic Change whose leadership appears divided over the Orange Movement.

Contracting partners of the UDC- Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) this week Wednesday held a scheduled meeting at Oasis Hotel in Tlokweng to discuss among others, the problems afflicting their colleague, the BMD. 

The BMD is currently paralysed after the party held parallel elective congresses in Bobonong where two different National Executive Committees were elected.

On Wednesday a fractured UDC executive committee met at Oasis to deliberate on the BMD issue. Botswana Guardian can safely confirm that BPP was not part of the meeting. Only the BCP and the BNF convened in the meeting that started at 10:30AM and was adjourned at 12:30PM. 

The meeting was attended by among others BNF President Duma Boko and Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, BCP President Dumelang Saleshando and UDC’s Treasurer Dennis Alexander and Taolo Lucas who is UDC’s additional member from the BCP.

According to the current UDC agreement, each party has been given one slot for an additional member to the UDC Executive Committee. It has since emerged that the BPP snubbed the meeting in support of the expelled BMD President Ndaba Gaolathe. 

Gaolathe has been expelled together with his deputy Wynter Mmolotsi. According to sources, the Gaolathe faction met on Tuesday night in Gaborone at Falcon Crest and agreed with BPP to snub Wednesday’s UDC meeting. 

The possibility of forming a new party was discussed at the aforesaid meeting. BPP, especially its leader Motlatsi Molapisi, is a known staunch supporter of Gaolathe. It is said that at the Tuesday meeting the Gaolathe-led faction promised to work with BPP once a new party is formed. The Gaolathe faction has left three options open; going to court; wait for UDC intervention or form a new party.

The majority agreed that they should wait for the outcome of the UDC leadership but if it does not favour them then a new party should be formed. The meeting came after Gaolathe BMD NEC addressed party members this past weekend. Out of the 12 addressed regions, nine (9) called for the formation of a new party, Botswana Guardian has established.

 

READ MORE IN OUR LATEST EDITION

 

 

Published in News
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 11:50

Comrade Moore: The Die Hard Marxist

Popularly known as Cde Moore, Dr Elmon Tafa has cut a clear and distinguished figure as an accomplished Political guru, Marxist, Educationist, Trade Unionist, Mentor, passionate Writer and Analyst, Reader – all rolled up in one.

His first cut in politics was when he was at Mater Spei College as a secondary school student. He was inspired into politics by refugees running from the brutality of the Rhodesian regime (Zimbabwe) some of whom were students at the school. He also read a lot of liberation literature from different writers in the region and beyond. He used to rhetorically state that his blood veins had Botswana National Front (BNF) flowing in him even before he got the membership card. He officially joined the BNF around 1970s while studying at the University of Botswana (UB). It was here that he joined the prestigious Kenneth Koma’s study groups with the likes of veteran politician Cde Akanyang Magama. His Marxism ideology sharpened up during this time where he also mingled with ANC liberation activists and other socialists from the region. Politically, Cde Moore has one of the longest history as a loyal member of the Botswana National Front (BNF). His BNF activism grew from leaps to bounds during his University of Botswana school days in the early 1980s. 

It was at the University of Botswana, now as a lecturer, where he enjoyed his full political freedom more and wrote countless articles and papers for the public, academia and the BNF. To prepare for this open political launch, Cde Moore bought a full set public address system, together with a folding podium. He then bought a black trunk where he kept this political paraphernalia and started touring the country. He has also written several BNF and UDC policies.

He read extensively on Marxism - Leninism and other related front.

He was first elected into the BNF Central Committee in 2005 in Ledumang as Secretary for Political Education.

He stood for national general election only once in 2009 in Francistown South as an independent candidate. He stood as independent candidate due to the contradictions that were prevalent then within the BNF leadership, after he was suspended together with Lebogang Letsie, Nehemiah Modubule and Akanyang Magama. He however did not recognise the suspension and insisted that he was a BNF member.

He was a friend of trade unions and has been invited many times.  Different educational institutions in the country and abroad invited him to make professional educational presentations. 

Dr Tafa is a founding member of Association of Botswana Tertiary Lecturers (ABOTEL), now known as Trainers and Allied Workers Union (TAWU).

Comrade Moore participated several times at Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) activities, even in its infancy stages as BOFESETE. Tafa had a special place within the trade union movement and was invited many times to share his Marxist ideological orientation which was critical for the young upcoming trade unionists. 

In early 2004, Cde Moore presented a controversial paper at BOFESETE conference in Palapye where he critically condemned the teachers for using corporal punishment in schools and called for the total abolishment of the practice. He later published the paper on line on 01 July 2010 titled: Corporal Punishment: The brutal face of Botswana's authoritarian schools. While some teachers resisted, some were immediately converted.

Cde Moore's recent participation at a BOSETU event was in Masunga in 2016 at the organisation’s Open Day. With little notice, he was roped in and he jumped to the idea immediately.

He appeared several times at other local trade union activities, invited or uninvited, and always gave them solidarity statements, an engagement he loved since it embraced Marxism. His last podium presentation was in Letlhakane where he commemorated the 2017 May Day with the Botswana Mine Workers Union.

Even as a secondary school teacher, Moore did not hide his love and membership for the BNF. He continued with his writings to newspapers using the pseudonym Cde Money, then Elijah Taufila, before he later adopted Cde Moore.

At Molepolole and Tonota Colleges of Education, student-teachers fought to be in his class to enjoy his teachings which went beyond the legal college curricula. As a Social Studies lecturer, the curricula offered a rich ground for his ideological inclinations, where Marxism was also a subject.  

In 2016, Cde Moore bounced back again in the Botswana National Front leadership as Secretary for Political Education, where he recorded the highest number of votes than any other candidate. An independent thinker, he did not mince his words if something was not done properly.

Checking him immediately after his first hospitalisation at Marina Hospital in May, Cde Moore sent me to his church in Tlokweng, the international WCCC to inform Pastor Justin. As it was late at night, I asked Cde Nelson Ramaotwana to accompany me and search for the church in Tlokweng as Moore had given the directions. We found the church but it was locked up and that night I googled the pastor till I found his contacts and sent him an email update on Tafa’s state of health. The following day Tafa was happy as he had been checked by the church leaders. I then gave the Pastor feedback who said he also tried calling him but his phone was off. Tafa had accolades about the Pastor who also had a special place for him in the church, upfront and next to him. He once wrote a scathing article attacking the government for Pastor’s deportation and lobbied for his comeback. A sworn Marxist, Tafa had become a fervent church goer, to the surprise of many who knew his hard position on religion.

Even on his deathbed, Cde Moore still clung to his ideological convictions of Marxism. Go well Cde Moore. Go well.

Justin Hunyepa 

BNF Secretary for Information and Publicit

Published in News
Tuesday, 29 November 2016 15:11

Opposition talks sealed

Cooperation talks between Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) are said to have been completed following a meeting of the constituency allocation Task Team this week Wednesday.

Botswana Guardian can safely reveal that the Task Team which was deliberating on Mmopane-Lentsweletau and Kanye North Constituencies which were the only ones outstanding, met on Wednesday morning in Gaborone at BOFEPUSU offices. BOFEPUSU has been one of the instrumental institutions that have called for cooperation between opposition parties since 2011, which calls culminated in the formation of UDC. Leaders from BCP and UDC contracting members- Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) convened a meeting, which lasted until lunchtime to resolve the issue. Indications are that the committee will brief the leadership of both parties and the final decision will be made by the party leaders Dumelang Saleshando (BCP) and Duma Boko (UDC) after which an announcement on the outcome of the talks is likely to be made before end of next week.

The Wednesday meeting was attended by among others BNF Vice President Prince Dibeela, BMD chairman Nehemiah Modubule and Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi, BCP Vice President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, Secretary General Kentse Rammidi and Akanyang Magama and BPP Secretary General Botho Seboko. Sources close to the talks have revealed that other committees being that of the Constitution, Policy and Governance have wrapped up their negotiations as mandated and only the Constitution committee was left behind due to the outstanding two constituencies -Mmopane/Lentsweletau and Kanye North.

He said that everything would be in place next week Wednesday, which was set for conclusion of the talks. Both BCP and BMD under the Umbrella wanted Mmopane-Lentsweletau. BCP also wanted Kanye North which BNF also expressed interest in. The negotiating parties were sent back to return on Wednesday this week to motivate their argument for demanding the constituencies. Both constituencies were won by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The BCP has argued that it was a runner-up in the 2014 general elections after BDP. Contention by the UDC contracting members is that when added up with those of their members who contested the elections as independent candidates, their numbers surpass those of the BCP thus giving them an upper hand to be given the constituencies.

It is not yet clear what the negotiation parties agreed on Wednesday.  Resolution to this matter is regarded as a milestone since the two parties could not agree on constituencies prior to the 2014 elections which resulted in BCP going all alone in the elections. Constituency allocation has been the stumbling block preventing the duo from working together. BCP and UDC have through their Publicity Secretaries indicated in media statements that any issue regarding the talks would be communicated at the right time. After the announcement of the completion of the talks the parties are expected to notify their various structures and start their campaigns for 2019 and sell their policies to the populace.

Published in News

The Botswana National Front wishes to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the onslaught on basic fundamental freedoms by state security apparatus in Botswana. We have witnessed an insatiable appetite on the side of state organs to disperse peaceful gatherings by meting violence on peaceful protesters.

It must be a concern to all of us when state security apparatus resorts to violence against its people, and thereby trampling upon basic freedoms to associate and to assemble. The importance of freedom of assembly cannot be underscored in any democratic society such as ours. Lately we have witnessed a narrowing of the civic space in Botswana. Peaceful protests which seek to communicate a legitimate societal scourge of unemployment cannot be dispersed with sjamboks and violence in the manner that we have witnessed recently. As the BNF, we hold dear the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights. An onslaught on peaceful demonstrators by state security apparatus is an onslaught on Botswana Constitutional democracy, its ideals of humanity, Botho and patriotism.

There is need to contextualize the unemployment protests which are spearheaded by unemployed, yet qualified youths of Botswana. As the BNF, we characterize the protests as a welcome move by youths who seek to enforce and remind the BDP-led government of its obligations imposed by the Social Contract. It is apparent that the BDP government has, for many years, ignored its obligations as far as the social contract is concerned. Instead of discharging its obligations, by creating equitable and dignified employment opportunities, the BDP led government has institutionalized corruption, nepotism and thereby sidelining our population from the mainstream economic activity. 

It is worrisome and disturbing that journalists and reporters have not escaped the wrath and brutality of state security apparatus. We learn that Security apparatus confiscated equipment and other work-related material belonging to journalists who were covering the Unemployment protests. Once the state forcibly censors the work of journalists, it is an indication that our democracy is being derailed. There is no law which empowers the police to confiscate material used by journalists in their line of duty. Such actions by the Police demonstrate impunity and arrogance of the highest order.

As the BNF, we view the Public Order Act as incompatible with participatory democracy and active citizenry. The Public order Act seems to suggest that for citizens to exercise their right to assemble, they require ‘permission/permit’ from an administrative officer.  It seems to suggest that the leaders hold the rights of the public in trust and only deposit it with them when it wishes to. To us Human rights are God given and cannot be taken away, not even by the leaders.

Although the BNF is alive to the fact that rights and freedoms are not absolute, it is however our firm view that the Public Order Act seems to limit the enjoyment and exercise of freedoms unreasonably and such is unjustifiable in an open and democratic society such as ours. In would appear that, in terms of the Act, without an express ‘permission/permit’ from the police officers, citizens cannot peacefully assemble and protest. It is our believe that such as approach goes beyond limiting the freedom of assembly and potentially takes away the very rights which the constitution and various international human rights instruments sought to safeguard.

The Unemployment protesters posed no threat, real or imagined, to national security, peace, morality, rights of others and as such, their peaceful assembly ought to have been protected by state security agencies even without a permit. It is only a barbaric government which responds to a peaceful protest with violence. As the BNF, we make a clarion call to other civil society organisations to consider testing the constitutionality of the Public Order Act. Our fear is that it would not pass the constitutional muster, atleast in the manner which it is arbitrarily applied to deny citizens their freedom to assemble and protest. Not long ago, members of the #Ishallnotforget movement were capriciously denied a permit to march after the Sebinagate scandal. We are of the view that the Public Order Act is an instrument of oppression used to narrow the civic space for citizens to express their grievances openly.

As the BNF, we applaud the fearless youths who participated in the peaceful protest at Parliament precincts. History will remember your heroic deeds someday. We call upon government to consider dialogue and constructive engagement with the leaders of the Unemployment protest movement. Violence has no place in our society. It is alien to our culture. The state must never unleash terror and violence on its own people. It is a classical breach of the social contract and such a fundamental breach necessitates the citizens to consider cancelling the social contract with the BDP come 2019, or earlier if need be.

Moeti Mohwasa
BNF Secretary General






















 

Published in News
Monday, 01 August 2016 13:43

UDC to commemorate Motswaledi’s death

Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the second year since the passing away of iconic politician, Gomolemo Motswaledi who was the President of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and whose death, officially caused by a car accident, fed political campaigns towards the 2014 election.

He was also the Secretary General of the coalition movement, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). BMD is a contracting member of the UDC, together with Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). UDC launched an independent investigation after raising doubt that his was just like any other road accident. The man was assassinated, the party proclaimed and embarked on a mission to raise funds to investigate the cause of the death. The UDC has however so far failed to release the report for the cause of Motswaledi’s death.

The delay has now reversed the unity that the nation experienced after his death; some political observers are of the view that his death earned the UDC sympathy votes. BMD, which is currently characterised by internal fighting last month through its National Working Committee, revealed that the report was ready and with the UDC leadership. Political pressure from other parties also reached the coalition movement corridors. The delay was seen as a political stunt by the UDC to continue getting sympathy votes from Batswana even in 2019.

Botswana Congress Party Youth League last year called for the release of the report. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) also joined the calls. BDP Member of Parliament for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane has since brought a motion before Parliament requesting that the UDC be forced to release the report or be investigated for stealing money from Batswana.

UDC President who is also the leader of BNF, Duma Boko once indicated that they are waiting for experts to come to the country to reconstruct the accident. An exercise he said would take time. Even though he promised to do regular updates on the matter this never happened. This week BMD Chairman Nehemiah Modubule and UDC Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa referred all enquiries to Ndaba Gaolathe who doubles as BMD President and UDC Secretary General. Gaolathe was said to be in South Africa and would only be back today (Friday). The UDC is however, planning various activities to honour Motswaledi and just like last year a remembrance memorial has been scheduled for Gaborone next week.

Motswaledi became popular after he challenged BDP leader and head of state Dr Ian Khama in court, where he was left saddled with huge legal costs. The public came to his rescue after he was threatened with civil imprisonment. He would later with other disgruntled BDP members form the BMD in 2010.

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