FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana Patriotic Front’s (BPF) besieged president, Biggie Butale has allegedly told some party die-hards that he intends to quit the party soon.
The beleaguered president reportedly declared his desire to leave the party at a meeting he convened over the weekend at a farm situated near Machaneng village.
The meeting came at a time when there is swelling speculation that Butale is on the brink of re-joining the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Butale faces sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him by a university student party representative.
At the meeting, it is alleged that Butale said he is planning to quit the party because his relationship with some key members, amongst them former president Ian Khama has become irretrievably broken.
There are reports that Butale believes that the BPF patron and former president Khama had a hand in a leaked tape that implicates him (Butale) in the sexual harassment scandal (against a tertiary learner).
Khama has denied the allegations in a local newspaper. Various sources have alleged that at the weekend meeting Butale did not state his intended next political home, but some of his supporters proposed a return to the ruling party.
Sources have also intimated that the general posture at the meeting strongly indicated that Butale and his supporters might be heading to the BDP. Butale helped form the BPF towards the 2019 General Election after falling out with BDP’s key leader, President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Amongst those who attended the meeting were party secretary for international affairs James Kgalajwe, Baemedi Kudumane and BPF’s Central region vice-chairperson Tumo Tumo.
Kgalajwe and Kudumane have denied attending the meeting although various sources confirmed their presence. Tumo confirmed attending the meeting and shared some of the items that were discussed. “From the onset, I want to state that Butale never said that people should quit the BPF for the BDP. He only said that he intends to quit the party,” Tumo explained. Tumo added he was personally invited by Butale and Kgalajwe, but was not aware of the agenda until he reached the venue (of the meeting).
He confirmed information from multiple sources that at the meeting, Butale said that his relationship with Khama has reached an all-time low and as a result, he wants out of the BPF. “Butale never revealed his intended political home.
I later stood up and advised him to remain at the party because we still value his presence. My thinking is that if he has any differences with anyone in the party, he should consider resolving them.
Leaving the party is not an alternative,” Tumo said. Tumo added that he does not believe that Khama has anything against Butale. “Khama is amongst those who played a starring role when Butale was elected the president of the party.
I do not believe that he has now turned against him (Butale).” BPF spokesperson, Lawrence Ookeditse said the party cannot prevent Butale from holding any meeting. The party has urged Butale to step down to address the sexual harassment allegations against him. On the other hand, Butale has not shown any commitment to step down.
The BPF constitution does not allow the national executive committee to suspend its president. “At the moment it all depends on him, we have requested that he steps aside and deal with his sex scandal, but he appears not to have done so. It really is a case of his ethics and morals now.
Remember we did not suspend him, we asked him to step aside and he has not accepted our request.” Butale told The Monitor that he is not ready to engage the media on anything relating to politics.