The Botswana National Front (BNF) congress has resolved to task the incoming central committee led by lawyer Duma Boko to commence talks of possible cooperation with other opposition parties in preparation for the 2014 general election.
In the past, the BNF has been accused of sabotaging cooperation talks by taking ridged positions, especially in relation to the model to be adopted for cooperation.
Perhaps as a possible gesture that it is in support of unity of cooperation of opposition parties, the party has also taken a decision not to contest the Tonota-North bye-election and, instead, support the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) or Botswana Movement For Democracy (BMD).
So far only the BCP has indicated that it will contest the Tonota-North bye-election.
Boko, who contested the party presidency against Gabriel Kanjabanga and Conference Leko, was widely tipped to win.
Although there was a motion calling on the congress to expel Thuso Mogorosi,Sekgopi Bogatsu,Moses Kajane and Chalido Madome for taking the party to court over Boko’s eligibility for the party’s presidency.
The BNF congress, however, climbed down and referred the matter to the incoming central committee to take disciplinary action against the quartet for taking the party to court.
Addressing the congress in his opening speech on Saturday, the outgoing BNF president, Otsweletse Moupo, acknowledged that the BNF needed to engage with other opposition parties to unseat the ruling BDP.
He said that in the past the BNF exhibited an attitude which gave an impression that it was not interested in cooperation.Moupo urged the congress to come with an omnibus resolution to give the party the mandate to negotiate with other parties.
Moupo said that the resolution needed not to tie the negotiator’s hands but also advised that what is important is for the negotiators not to sell the party.
Moupo stated that the party also needed to restore its good image caused by internal fighting by hiring full time activists to help restore confidence.
“The BNF has come to a point where it needs a full-time party secretary general who is paid by the party,” said Moupo.
He said that the BNF could not depend on member’s contributions, adding that the party membership also needed to assist the party financially. He said that his party had performed badly in the past general elections because it did not adequately prepare for President Ian Khama.He said Khama’s populist strategies have proved to be fatal for the BNF.
Reporting to the congress, the party’s outgoing deputy secretary general, Mokgweetsi Kgosipula, said that the BNF paid P54.000 as payment for the plot where the party intends to build its head office.
Kgosipula also revealed that the Gaborone City Council had already approved a plan for a double storey building. He said that what is left is for the party to source funds to finance the project.
Kgosipula also complained that it had now become ‘fashionable’ for party members to drag the party to court. He urged members to consider resolving issues internally before rushing to court, adding that taking the party to court amounts to indiscipline.