Sunday, December 5, 2021

Boko to meet regional structures amid stand-off with Central Committee

With parliament having just gone into recess, the president of the embattled Botswana National Front, Duma Boko, is using this slow period to consolidate his power.

Sunday Standard learns that this Tuesday, Boko will meet with regional chairpersons and secretaries at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng to sound them out on the crisis that the party is currently going through. Party insiders see this as a ploy by the Leader of the Opposition and Gaborone Bonnington North MP to lobby for support against a Central Committee that wants to oust him. The Committee has not made such plans a secret and Boko is well aware of them.

The Committee is unevenly divided between supporters of Boko and the Vice President, Reverend Prince Dibeela. Numerically, the latter group is stronger and that fact is said to be the reason Boko has put off calling a Central Committee for more than two months now. Dibeela’s faction is clear about what the main agenda of that meeting will be: a special elective congress that it seems certain would vote out Boko. A former law lecturer at the University of Botswana, the latter is an able debater but Central Committee meetings are made on the basis of numerical strength. Should the matter be put to a vote, Dibeela’s faction is assured of victory.

As a matter of fact, there is already a quasi-Central Committee resolution of indeterminate legal status which, as Sunday Standard learns, has already been communicated to Boko. At its meeting of March 24 at Sedibeng Lodge in Gaborone, the Committee resolved that a special elective congress should be called this year and that the party should withdraw from the Umbrella for Democratic Change, the opposition collective formed ahead of the 2014 general election that it is one quarter of. Dibeela’s faction outnumbered Boko’s 17 to three at this meeting. At this time, Boko was away in Asia on parliamentary duty but is said to have communicated telephonically with Dibeela soon after that meeting, with the latter stressing the need for another Central Committee meeting that he (Boko) should be part of. That has yet to happen.

In addition to Dibeela’s faction, another BNF group that wants the party to leave UDC is the Veterans Association which was formally launched in Gaborone last week. Boko is vehemently opposed to such idea and the prominent role that Moeti Mohwasa, a long-time sidekick, played at that launch seems to confirm that there has been another defection. Some BNF members are uncomfortable with the reconstituted Botswana Movement for Democracy (most of its members are now with the Alliance for Progressives) because they see it as a deadweight which doesn’t have adequate support. These members complain that the latter notwithstanding, the number of constituencies that BMD has been allocated is disproportionate to its actual strength on the ground. Part of the discomfort with the party also has to do with allegations that have linked it to the notorious Directorate of Intelligence Services which is anxious to preserve the status quo.

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