Tuesday, 31 July 2018 14:39

Salakae locked in the horns of a dilemma

In Rakops, Noah Salakae, the Botswana National Front’s (BNF) purse-keeper, had a foreboding demeanour whilst chatting with delegates from Gantsi North.The BNF National Treasurer has now vented his frustrations. This week he resigned as National Treasurer only to rescind the decision within 24 hours. In Rakops it was evident that his office was not in control of the Conference finances. BNF President Advocate Duma Boko had taken over.

The transportation, food and the huge tent erected at the conference venue were all bankrolled by Boko. Confronted on these developments in Rakops, Salakae would not discuss them with the media saying they were internal party matters.

But this week’s revelations in the leaked resignation letter gave insight into the way things were run in the build up to the conference. It was at this conference that Advocate Boko revealed that going forward he would not let delegates starve. He indicated that initially he had wanted all the buses that transported people to Rakops to be branded and promised that this should be expected in the coming BNF engagements.

This week Tuesday Salakae pulled a surprise and resigned through a letter that was leaked to the media. While the resignation was to safeguard his integrity, within the BNF Central Committee he had made a blunder. Those close to developments within the Central Committee say Salakae was one of the key players in the anti-Boko faction.

His departure is likely to weaken the faction which is in majority. In fact, those who associated with him felt betrayed. Information gathered by Botswana Guardian, reveals that on Tuesday night there was a meeting where fellow comrades pleaded with him not resign and he conceded. However the damage had already been done as the letter he shared with some of the colleagues in the central committee was in the public domain.

Salakae, who is also Member of Parliament for Gantsi North could not be drawn into discussing the letter but confirmed it and its contents which regrettably according to him, was leaked before it could officially reach the party office through secretary general.
“At the height of my resignation is the manner in which the BNF/UDC is run. The BNF CC remains only in name because the (sic) 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,” said Salakae in the letter.

He continued, “I leave behind a healthy party’s balance sheet. We managed to buy a vehicle for the party, cash on delivery. Cash balance stands at over P200 000 with no debts. With a depoliticized party administration, I am confident the party can make millions from membership cards”.

Contacted by this publication, Salakae confirmed the withdrawal of the resignation letter. He dismissed claims that he belongs to an anti-Boko faction in the central committee. “Following the leak of that letter I engaged in vigorous consultation with other comrades. They were calling me trying to find out what could have happened. We spoke for about ten (10) hours as they were pleading with me not to resign.

“By then I had already taken a stand but they convinced me that I could not leave the office I have served diligently. They are not against the contents of the letter but rather against my decision to resign,” he stated. The outspoken legislator explained that there are two schools of thought - one that believes in silence and the other that believes that one has to speak out.

“When you keep quiet those who believe in speaking out will point an accusing finger that you are failing them. And when you speak out against some things or disagreeing with the leaders those who believe in silence would start to call you a renegade and undermining the leadership so this is the difficulty we find ourselves in as leaders.

That is why people would start saying you are in a certain faction while in actual fact you will be expressing yourself democratically,” said Salakae. He indicated that he is a die-hard BNF member and would not join any other political movement.
There have been claims that the anti-Boko faction within the central committee has tried on numerous occasions to take him head-on but failed due to failure to convene meetings for central committee and or Executive Committee.

The faction believes he is making it difficult for the BNF to progress and that he is sabotaging the UDC. The faction which also has the backing of BNF Veterans Association, some MPs, some Councillors and some of the rank and file could soon be losing grip of the party to Advocate Boko and his team.

Information on the ground is that some party members feel the anti-Boko faction within the central committee is failing the party and its members by failing to use their numerical superiority against Boko’s minority support.

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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.

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