Botswana National Front (BNF) secretary general, Mokgweetsi Kgosipula, this week stopped short of revealing that the party is caught up in a membership registration chaos. He stated that owing to human error, a number of membership cards bearing the same number were issued to different party members when the party changed its system of registration after the 2001 congress.
This emerges from court records of the case in which the BNF is opposing a suit filed by Thuso Mogorosi, Sekgopi Bogatsu, Moses Kajane and Chalido Madome. The quartet is challenging lawyer Duma Boko’s candidature for the BNF presidency.
Boko is pitted against Gabriel Kanjabanga at the party congress scheduled for Mochudi next week.
In his affidavit, Kgosipula lists several party members who share membership numbers. He says Boko has always been a BNF member and his membership card is genuine as it was issued by the party as a replacement to the one he was issued in 2003.
The case, launched before the Francistown High Court, is due to be heard next week.
In his answering affidavit, Boko explained that following the party’s 2001 congress, disgruntled party members associated with the then party line wanted to form a communist party within the BNF.
“….We agreed to establish a communist party and began the preparatory steps towards the realisation of that ideal,” he states. It was never intended to be an organisation apart from the party competing with it,” he adds.
Boko says forms were obtained from the registrar of societies as part of the process to register the National Democratic Front (NDF.)
“I must indicate that while engaging in the discussion with the rest of the members of the partyÔÇôline group it became clear to me that what they seemed to be pursuing was the registration of a political party to compete with the first respondent,” states Boko.
He says he then told Dick Bayford and Lemogang Ntime who, at the time, were spearheading NDF’s formation that he remained a BNF member.
Boko says in 2007 he was approached by BNF leader Otsweletse Moupo, inviting him to serve in the party’s central committee as an additional member. Sometime in 2007 he collected his replacement card and was, prior to the 2009 general elections, asked to stand as BNF parliamentary candidate at Gaborone Central.
Boko says, “The applicants are not competent to pronounce on the genuiness of my membership as they are not the person charged with issuing and processing membership for the first respondent.”
Boko points out that of the thirty six constituencies that have made nominations in the race for the BNF’s presidency, nineteen have nominated him while three have nominated Kanjabanga.
“One of the contenders to the presidency has, in fact, sensing a resounding defeat at the first respondent’s congress, had the courage to withdraw from the contest. Boko says although the applicants state that their issue is urgent he is surprised as to why they lodged their case with the Francistown High Court when most live in Gaborone.
Boko says that the applicants should have filed the matter with the Lobatse High Court.