The national executive of the Botswana National Front (BNF) has recalled its youth president, Kagiso Ntime, from opposition negotiations for putting the party into disrepute.
But what lies beneath Ntime’s recall, though not new to the party, could be a much bigger problem for the BNF.
The Telegraph has been informed that there is a rumble within the BNF ranks led by the youth league. The rumblings, it is alleged, emanate from people who wish to stand for elections and are opposed to the idea of an Umbrella political model adopted by four political parties, the Botswana Congress Party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, the Botswana National Front and the Botswana Peoples Party.
Their fear is that with the Umbrella, it may not be easy for contest at both the council and constituency seats.
It is alleged there is a faction that is plotting to oust BNF President Duma Boko and replace him with Ntime in 2013. The faction is said to have supported Olebile Gaborone for the Presidency of the party but it now backs Gabriel Kanjabanga who also contested for the Presidency of the party. Ntime is seen as Kanjabanga’s blue-eyed boy.
Despite the BNF having endorsed the opposition negotiations in July at Tsabong, Ntime is said to have been openly opposed to the decision before he openly differed with his party in the press.
The BNF youth league is also said to be moving to remove Arafat Khan, the youth league Secretary General who hit back at Ntime for undermining the Umbrella Project and the party.
Khan is seen to be a close ally of Boko.
“If it is true that I have been suspended, I will wait for the suspension letter and subject myself to any disciplinary process of the youth league. Whatever decision is taken by the youth league against me, I will remain a loyal cadre of BNF,” said Khan.
Sources within the BNF say the youth League secretary of Control Commission refused to suspend Khan.
The BNF spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa, said the recalling of Ntime was done to preserve the party integrity and that of the opposition Umbrella project.
“He has defied the party resolution that endorsed the Umbrella project at Tsabong,” Mohwasa said.
“I have decided to respect the BNF and the decision of the executive committee. But this does not necessarily mean I agree with them. Other parties have been commenting on the negotiations on Facebook, for example. The youth league met on Saturday. The league doesn’t agree with the decision of the executive to recall me,” Ntime said.
There was no immediate comment from the BNF youth league spokesperson.
The BNF youth president warned the party about decisions it takes about the negotiations.
“There are serious contradictions. I have been recalled following a position paper telling people the truth about what is going on at the negotiations. I was, in fact, protecting the negotiations. BMD leader Nehemiah Modubule, who is a member of the negotiations, called a press conference where he talked about the negotiations but his party has not recalled him. The action of the executive committee may destabilise the BNF,” said the youth league president.