Vol.21 No.118

Wednesday 4 August 2004    

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News
Molefhabangwe's BNF troubles

LEKOPANYE MOOKETSI
8/4/2004 12:24:11 AM (GMT +2)

THE Botswana National Front (BNF) has reportedly summoned Gaborone West MP, Robert Molefhabangwe to appear for a disciplinary hearing. Mmegi has learnt that the MP is required to answer for utterances he made at political rallies about the party leadership. When he was contacted,


Molefhabangwe declined to comment about his relationship with the BNF leadership.But he confirmed that he has received a letter, whose contents he declined to reveal. The MP is believed to be one of the BNF members who are against the electoral pact the party has signed with the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM). Instead, he prefers an alliance with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), which he regards as a stronger movement compared to the other pact partners. There is talk in BNF circles that the party intends to expel the outspoken legislator. The MP does not seem to be in good terms with party official Paul Rantao - the man he ousted from Gaborone West constituency. The fierce rivalry between the two BNF members became evident during a political rally that Rantao was addressing at the Gaborone Bus Rank last Wednesday.

After Rantao had addressed the rally, the Master of Ceremonies (MC) rather hesitantly invited the "honourable MP" to come and say something. Molefhabangwe, who came late to the rally, was not sitting among party officials. He instead sat with the rank and file.

When he took the mike, there was an eerie silence as if he was expected to make some major announcement. Even Molefhabangwe could sense the tension. "I can see that you are all silent and you expect me to say something. But I am not going to say anything," declared the fiery MP. He then proceeded to make an announcement that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has indicated that registered voters could start applying for transfers to other polling stations. Within two minutes he handed over the microphone. He did not even chant the customary party slogans.

After his brief address, confusion reigned at the rally. The MC called on another party official to speak, who in response, said he was giving Rantao a chance to finish his address. However, the MC did not take this kindly and made it clear that he was the only one with powers to call speakers. The meeting was called off before time.

Even after the rally, both Molefhabangwe and Rantao kept to themselves.

Recently, Molefhabangwe lodged a complaint with the BNF central committee that Rantao was addressing meetings in his constituency without consulting him.

He was referring to the Bus Rank Freedom Square rallies. However, the central committee is said to have ordered that the regional committee should address the matter.

According to information reaching Mmegi, party members who want to address rallies at the Bus Rank have to seek permission from the regional committee. However, Molefhabangwe is reported to be unhappy with this new arrangement.


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