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Last Updated
Monday 02 August 2021, 21:48 pm.
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Ntuane U-turn bad omen - Opposition chiefs

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been widely criticised by opposition leaders for allegedly forcing Specially Elected Member of Parliament (MP) Botsalo Ntuane to retract his statement on the implementation of the new liquor regulations.
By OLIVER MODISE
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Ntuane U-turn bad omen - Opposition chiefs








Ntuane made headlines when he openly declared his support for bar owners taking government to court over the new liquor law. His solidarity with bar owners and all those opposed to the new laws seemed to have been short-lived following a retraction statement he issued this week.

In his initial statement, Ntuane was quoted in one of the local newspapers criticising the implementation of the laws and stating that Botswana was turning into a fundamentalist state. He further said that very soon people would be told when to sleep and what music to listen to. This it is understood did not go down well with party President Ian Khama.

The BDP is being over sensitive, said Botswana National Front (BNF) president Otsweletse Moupo in an interview with Mmegi. Moupo charged that Botswana's democracy is under siege.

He said the retraction was unjustified because Ntuane made his comments not on behalf of the BDP or government. He argued that the MP was merely expressing his views about an issue that was already a matter of public debate.

ItŐs a bad omen, thundered the opposition chief. He said the BDP is out to gag everyone within the party ranks, adding that this is not consistent with democracy. Botswana Congress Party (BCP) vice president Kesitegile Gobotswang also condemned the BDP leadership, stating that the party has become intolerant of other people's views.

He said that by forcing Ntuane to retract what he said, Khama is not living up to his word to uphold democracy.

Gobotswang said that ever since Khama's ascendancy the BCP has been blacklisted by the state media, citing

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Botswana Television (Btv) and Radio Botswana (RB). We suspected that he would be turning to them, said Gobotswang. He said that the issue is not only limited to inner (BDP) party democracy but it is also a constitutional matter. He said what Ntuane had said before retracting his statement is a true reflection of what the country is turning into. Marx Engels Lenin and Stalin (MELS) leader Themba Joina said the ascendancy of Ian Khama to the BDP presidency marks the end of democracy within the BDP. Joina stated that Ntuane's retraction statement was a clear sign that Khama is a man determined to silence any dissenting voices in the organisation.

This whole process will spill over to government as long as he (Khama) remains in power, argues Joina. He accused the BDP leadership of trying to bring back through the back door the rejected party constitutional amendments that wanted to put more power to the president.

He advised BDP members to protect their own democracy BDP chairman Daniel Kwelagobe however maintains that the whole thing is not an incursion into the BDPs inner democracy, stating that members are still allowed to be as open and critical as possible but within the party circles.

We can say anything we feel against as long as it is within the party domain, said Kwelagobe. He urged party members to speak out freely without rubbishing the party. Kwelagobe, who happens to be Ntuane's political Godfather, asserted that his party supports freedom of expression as long as members are not exposing the party to attack by outsiders.

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