BMD is OK as Leader of Opposition - BNF youth

FRANCISTOWN: Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL) on Wednesday resolved that the party's central committee should not put up a candidate for the position of Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, says BNFYL secretary general, Arafat Khan.

Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) MP, Botsalo Ntuane, is currently the Leader of Opposition, although his party is at par with the BNF at six MPs each.

Ntuane's party, BMD -a breakaway from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)-gained a majority of the parliamentary seats when eight MPs joined the newly formed BMD overtaking the Botswana National Front (BNF) which had six parliamentary seats, whilst Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has five MPs. This was before two BMD members of parliament returned to the ruling BDP.

The BNFYL insists that their position of non-participation in the contest for Leader of Opposition is in line with the spirit of opposition cooperation.

"By the way, we are simply re-affirming our commitment to opposition cooperation. But, I must however state that the BNF central committee has not notified us of any intentions to deploy any MP to contest or not," clarified Khan.

The BNFYL will shortly be officially writing to the party president, Duma Boko, about their stance. Khan has also pointed out that he has since communicated informally to the party president.

He insists that "our position is motivated by the broader picture of opposition cooperation".

Although the BNF is yet to commit itself to any form of opposition cooperation, Khan feels that anything that could spark a clash between the BMD and BNF should be avoided.

"All our energies and focus should be channelled towards fighting one common enemy and that is the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and not any other opposition party."

Meanwhile, BNFYL has also resolved to hold its constitutional congress next March "to adopt and amend the BNFYL constitution".

Khan explained that the proposed amendments were precipitated by the reality that the current constitution was last amended in 1988. "Some sections of the constitution have been overtaken by events," he pointed out.

The BNFYL has also dedicated the entire month of November to resuscitating the organ's structures.

"We have planned to reach out to almost all the areas, resources permitting, to breath life to dysfunctional party structures," he said and added, "We will be going all out to ensure that the structures of the organ are in place and fully functional".

He was also elated that the BNFYL has sent a delegation of four youths to attend the SADC youth forum in Zimbabwe.

Quizzed about the position of the BNFYL, Moeti Mohwasa, BNF publicity and information secretary, said yesterday that the BNF central committee was not aware of their position.

Generally, Mohwasa explained, "this is a matter which the central committee is still seized with and a decision will be made at the appropriate time".

He also indicated that in every organisation, people cannot be expected to hold similar views all the time.

Officially, the BNF has not taken any position on the Leader of Opposition and Mohwasa indicated that speculation on the issue has been rife and "none of the circulating rumours is closer to reality in the party".

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