Two key members of the opposition Botswana Peoples Party, Vice President Ramasu Mogatle and Organizing Secretary Peter Feni have dealt the ailing party another deathly blow as they tendered their resignation letters last week.
In an unprecedented turn of events, the BPP has once again found itself sinking deeper into dire straits after what was touted to be a conference at which bridges would be mended and differences between comrades reconciled degenerated into open hostility and disgruntlement over some resolutions that are said to have been taken by the conference.
The party leadership had convened the conference to give party members an opportunity to strategize on how to combat the woes that have befallen their party and to mend differences. “We are here primarily to confront and deal with the unfortunate reality that has befallen our party. The reality is that the party is divided,” said party president Bernard Balikani at the conference last week.
True to the spirit of reconciliation, the party resolved that all members would work tirelessly towards party unity and that the central committee should revive all party structures in the country in preparation for the coming elections. But sparks started flying when; right after issuing a joint statement with the BNF that they will be cooperating in preparation for the 2009 general elections, the conference hit a u-turn and resolved that the BPP will not enter into any talks with any political party until after the next general elections.
This is said to have rubbed Vice President Ramasu Mogatle and Organizing Secretary Peter Feni the wrong way. The two are said to be staunch supporters of opposition cooperation and they have been at the helm of the BPP’s negotiation teams in the party’s past cooperation endeavors.
While Mogatle is said to have handed his resignation after the conference, Feni told The Sunday Standard that he resigned before going to the conference because he could already predict the outcome and the resolutions that would be taken. He said that only a small minority, about 25 percent of the party’s conservatives is against opposition cooperation, but the majority of the BPP membership want the party to cooperate with other parties to wrestle power from BDP. “But you will find that the majority who want cooperation do not attend such conferences rather opting to stay at their homes,” said Feni.
Feni also revealed that his stay at BPP has not been a very jovial one.
”We have always had problems at BPP and I have on many occasions differed with some decisions taken by the leadership,” he said. “But as a leader you fight on with the hope that things will be okay sometime. Unfortunately, I have come to the end of my tether with the BPP and I have to move on.”
The former BPP Organizing Secretary said that he has always been perturbed by the way some influential members of the party tended to have small cliques that they called factions which they use to control the party leadership. He said that the BPP has degenerated into a small party that cannot afford to have factions yet it seems the leadership was condoning such factionalism. He said that people use these small factions to push for their agendas within the party and derail any developments that might not be to their liking thus making the party redundant.
Commenting on the resignation of the two members, Information and Publicity Secretary, Kumbulani William, said that they had not received any official correspondence from Feni. He, however, said Feni had called him personally and told him that he wanted to take a break from politics.
William also told The Sunday Standard that Mogatle had tendered his resignation letter stating that he was unhappy with the fact that the party had decided not to go ahead with cooperation talks with the BNF. However, William said that there are allegations that when the BNF mooted the idea of cooperating with BPP, Mogatle had already put himself in a prime spot as a constituency had already been identified for him in the Ramotswa region for which he would campaign under the BNF ticket. Sources indicate that BPP’s refusal to cooperate with the BNF was an affront to Mogatle who felt that he had been denied a shot at a parliamentary seat, hence his resignation.