Less than two months after the Botswana National Front’s controversial elective congress at which a side led by Duma Boko swept the boards, the losers have registered a new party with a name from the past.
The new party will be called the Botswana Labour Party and will be a socialist movement. Its leader will bear the title of Chairperson and not president as typically happens with other parties. The socialist orientation is important for the founders because they strongly believe that Boko had derailed the BNF from its socialist leaning.
The name is not new, having been used by Lenyeletse Koma (who is the cousin to BNF founder, Dr. Kenneth Koma) to register a BNF-origin party. After leaving the BNF, Lenyeletse formed a party that he called the Botswana Labour Party. Electorally, the party went nowhere but he clung to the name. We learn that Lenyeletse gave permission to his former comrades to use the name.
The new BLP, whose official launch is imminent, comes into being after a bitterly fought battle for the leadership of the BNF. On one side was a lobby list headlined by Boko and on the other, another headlined by his former lecturer at the University of Botswana, Dr. Baatlhodi “Bucs” Molatlhegi. From the get-go, “Team Bucs” complained that the electoral process was rigged and when the elective congress came around, had lost all hopes of winning. It was indeed trounced and some of its members feel that they can’t remain in a BNF led by Boko. “Some” because others feel that forming a new party is a mistake. The latter are said to be angling for another opportunity to oust Boko from the leadership.
BLP’s formation comes at a time that the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is certainly on its way out of the Umbrella for Democratic Change, a four-party opposition collective that Boko is also president of. BCP is said to be actively pursuing the possibility of establishing a working relationship of some sort with the Alliance for Progressives. BLP leaders are said to be interested in becoming part of this new opposition collective – which would certainly rival UDC.