The opposition Botswana National Front has dismissed allegations that the defection of former Gaborone West South MP and BNF firebrand to the Botswana Democratic Party has dented their pride, saying that it has done little to tarnish their credibility as Molefhabangwe left while he was no longer a member of the BNF.
The BNF is said to have been left licking its wounds after Molefhabangwe’s departure, which, together with the expulsion of some temporary platform members, put the BNF leadership in a tricky situation as the membership called for their resignation after a poor showing in the just ended general elections.
Worse still, that Molefhabangwe had defected to the ruling BDP, whose policies he has in the past torn apart in parliament, is said to have been a very bitter pill for the BNF to swallow.
“Just like each and every individual in this country, Molefhabangwe was exercising his conscience as enshrined and permitted by our constitution. To us it is like nothing has happened.
Anything goes because our party considers him an outsider expelled from the institution. He was not our member and, as such, not party to our institution,” said BNF’s Publicity Secretary Moeti Mohwasa on Friday
With only a few months ahead to the general elections, the BNF was embroiled in bitter internal fights that culminated in a number of its members defecting to form the temporary platform while some of its maverick legislators, like Molefhabangwe and Lobatse MP Nehemiah Modubule, were shown the door.
Former BNF ideologue, Elmon Tafa, also left in disgust to put up a lackluster independent campaign against the insurmountable BDP and Botswana Congress Party in Francistown South. But it was Modubule who carried the day, convincingly winning the Lobatse parliamentary seat to become Botswana’s first independent legislator.
The BNF’s embarrassment at the polls was worsened not only by Modubule’s convincing win, but also by the recent announcement that Molefhabangwe had defected to the BDP after failing to resist the BDP’s flirtatious advances, which were reportedly coupled with promises of a mayoral seat.
“We are not really disturbed by Molefhabangwe’s departure. We are however stunned by reports that he usurped such a coveted post as the mayoral seat in his maiden voyage within the BDP. It will be interesting to see how he will somersault to defend the very policies that he so flagrantly demonized not so long ago,” said Mohwasa.
He also revealed that the BNF had just extended an olive branch to the deposed members, including Molefhabangwe, by appealing to them to apply for readmission to the party.
While the BNF was accused of chasing away members with their stern measures and hasty expulsions, Mohwasa maintains that their actions were justified and consistent with the party constitution.
“We could not afford to allow our party be dragged into disrepute by some few members. Our actions were consistent and justified,” Mohwasa revealed.
However, Mosolotshane ward councilor, Mogalakwe Mogalakwe, who was also expelled from the party because he did not see eye to eye with the leadership, remains adamant that the current BNF leadership was wrong in expelling members because it lacks legitimacy.
Mogalakwe, who still maintains that he is a bona fide BNF member, said that a grounded politician like Molefhabangwe would not have defected to the BDP had he not been disgruntled with the BNF leadership.
He, however, said that Molefhabangwe has committed a political blunder because the BNF will soon regain its glitter after the election of a new and progressive leadership at the party’s next congress.
Mogalakwe also dismissed the contention that the death of the BNF is near, saying that BNF members are resilient and loyal.
“They were just vetting their anger at the irresponsible leadership by giving BDP a leeway to govern. With the responsible leadership on the levers they will reassemble and map out the way forward and topple BDP from power,” he said.