BNF internal fights escalate

BNF members locked outside the office PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
BNF members locked outside the office PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

All is not well at the Botswana National Front (BNF) as internal fights amongst other issues bedevilling the party have escalated to another level.

Historically, BNF has not had peace within itself due to many debates among its members. Monickered 'Puo-Phaa' in vernacular, the BNF problems usually arise in either the central committee, the Women’s League, or the Youth League when the party prepares for congresses. Just last week Thursday night, some members allegedly locked others inside the party's office as they suspected they had gone to register youth delegates whilst the date for delegations had closed. The commotion arose ahead of the BNF Youth League elections coming up over the weekend at Letlhakeng village.

Currently, the members who are campaigning for the youth league positions have divided themselves among two candidates for the presidency, the incumbent president Duma Boko and his rival in the presidential race, aspirant candidate Baathodi Molatlhegi. The Youth League plays a major role in the mother body elections as electees become delegates by being in the Youth League positions. A statement issued by Molatlhegi reads: “It is now public knowledge that some people with a vested interest in the coming elections of both the BNF Youth League and central committee, in connivance with employees of the BNF, have been undertaking illegal nocturnal activities at the party office. The latest incident was in the early hours of April 22 on Friday when this clandestine group was caught red-handed having locked itself inside the party office.

This group, which was found in the office between the hours of 11pm and 2am, includes individuals who are running in both Youth League and central committee elections. We are convinced that the strange activities have to do with the printing of membership cards that are being issued illegally to members who are aligned to the lobby lists that support the current leadership.” The letter further states that the plot of the said group is to continue rigging elections as the same allegedly happened during the Women’s League elections. It called for registration to be halted as the dubious exercise taints the election process and disenfranchises some party members. In the statement, Molatlhegi and his team also want the running of elections to be handed to an independent body since they do not have trust in the current electoral board.

Contrary to allegations, the BNF spokesperson Justin Hunyepa said on Friday some members of the central committee met to investigate some of the issues raised by Molatlhegi’s team but found that no new membership cards were allegedly being made. “We would like to confirm that on April 20, 2022, Wednesday the BNF executive committee met and resolved to have the computer system processing the cards shut down and should not be accessed by anyone until the youth congress (April 30) is over. This has been effected by a private consultant and no one has since accessed the card processing platform since Wednesday.

This means that no new membership forms are being captured; no new cards are being printed,” he said. He said the employees at the office were printing t-shirts: They presented the equipment they were using and the printed t-shirts before the complainants.

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