Friday, December 3, 2021

BNF national congress lobby lists take shape

With the Botswana National Front holding its national congress in only five months, campaigns by different groups have already started. So far three lobby lists (incomplete but taking shape) have been generated and one name dominates at the top.


For now at least, there is consensus that the Leader of the Opposition and Gaborone Bonnington North MP, Duma Boko, should run unopposed in order to not jeopardise the Umbrella for Democratic Change project. The latter is a loose confederation of the BNF, the Botswana Movement for Democracy and the Botswana People’s Party. Against what many (President Ian Khama included) expected, UDC did well in the 2014 general election, providing hope that 2019 may be when the opposition finally topples the Botswana Democratic Party. Boko played a crucial role in the formation of the UDC, initiating process to restart the final talks that led to the formation of the coalition. The outcome of this congress is important for the UDC as the BNF is an important part of it.


The name put forward for Vice President on the first lobby list is that of Reverend Dr. Prince Dibeela, an upgrade for a man who holds the position of Secretary of International Affairs in the current BNF Central Committee. Former Gaborone mayor, Harry Mothei, will vie for Chairperson while Gantsi North MP will seek to wrestle the position of Treasurer from Aubrey Lesaso. The rest of the list is as follows: Justin Hunyepa for Secretary General, Shampoo Matshediso (who was beaten by Eric Molale for the Specially Elected MP position after the Goodhope-Mabule bye-election) for Deputy Secretary General, Peter Makwati for Organising Secretary, Kwenantle Gaseitsiwe for International Affairs, Dr. Elmon Tafa for Political Education, Eitlhopha Mokeresete for Labour, Moeti Mohwasa for Information and Publicity, Dr. Baleofi  Lekobe for Health and Isaac Davids for Economic Affairs. At press time, the list was still being filled out with names for Youth Affairs and Women’s Affairs still outstanding.


Many more positions are unfilled on the second list which retains Same Bathobakae as Vice President. The rest of the list is as follows: Ferdinand Kgosikoma for Chairperson, Dibeela for Secretary General, Osimilwe Fish for Deputy Secretary General, Salakae for Treasurer, Sam Digwa for Political Education, Hunyepa for Labour, Bashi Sengwaketse for Organising Secretary and Tafa for Economic Affairs.


The third list is still under very tight wraps which should double its shock value. A good source says that at the top of the list (the the post of President) is the name of a University of Botswana lecturer who has served in the varsity’s executive management and has no publicly known association with the BNF. This is confounding and could possibly be a repeat of what happened years ago when Dr. Onalenna Selolwane, herself a UB lecturer at the time, was put on a lobby list with neither her knowledge nor consent.


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