Butale supporters resign from BPF

Butale’s supporters have resigned from the BPF in large numbers PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Butale’s supporters have resigned from the BPF in large numbers PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

On Wednesday this week, eight Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) members, including those from the Boteti East constituency, resigned from the party, citing various reasons.

In recent months, the BPF has been embroiled in a series of disputes leading to the resignation of several members. One of the reasons behind the current resignations is that some members were reportedly unhappy with the way new president, Mephato Reatile, was elected into office. It is said the members felt Raetile was not democratically elected. Currently, one Prince Bosilong is challenging the way the BPF presidential election was conducted at the party congress this year. Another reason is that the concerned members feel that the party has drifted away from its original principles and that it is no longer the organisation they joined. “Some members also feel that the leadership of the party is not listening to their concerns and that they are not given a voice,” a disgruntled member who did not want to be named said. According to James Kgalajwe, who resigned recently from the BPF, the party is experiencing disunity due to the existence of two centres of power. “Former president Ian Khama, who is also the party's patron, is controlling the party’s central committee, and the new committee will not be able to make any meaningful changes,” Kgalajwe said.

“The committee would not convene unless Khama has granted it permission to do so. This is sad because members believe that there should be no interference in the democratic process of choosing committee members and that everyone should have the opportunity to participate. All have failed because of one person,” he added. Kgalajwe also stated that he is currently recruiting other displeased members of the BPF and encouraging them to return to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). He said once they have regrouped, they will hold a press conference to announce their plan. Still on the matter, Mmegi has realised there are those who have not yet made their decisions on their future political affiliations, and it is unclear whether they will join another party. Meanwhile, the BPF secretary-general, Lawrence Ookeditse stated that the party has been anticipating the resignation of members who were loyal to former president Biggie Butale. He noted that it is common in the political cycle for a leader’s supporters to leave with them when they are ousted from power. “The party cannot prevent members from leaving, and we are not concerned about those resignations. Some of those members who resigned were previously suspended from the party. We are united as BPF,” he said. Ookeditse expressed confidence that the party will continue to thrive despite resignations. The BPF has been facing numerous challenges since its formation in 2019, and resignations are likely to make things even worse. Despite what the party says, the resignations of members are a major blow to any political party, as in this scenario, the BPF is still trying to establish itself as a major political party.

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