Saturday, March 2, 2024

Comrade Vs Comrade: How BNF is collapsing under the weight of fake news scourge

Botswana National Front vice president, Prince Dibeela has been forced to respond to a circulating WhatsApp message that hints at him and his followers planning to join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.

The messages that have since gone viral on Social Media among other things allege that Dibeela is working closely with the BDP.

Crucially the identity of the other person with whom Dr Dibeela is exchanging the messages is not known.

Allegations have been made that the person is president Mokgweetsi Masisi.

But Dibeela holds that he does not have any personal relationship with Masisi.

In the conversation seen by Sunday Standard, Dr Dibeela is made to be saying that if he does not get his way inside the BNF he would form a splinter party that could cooperate with Botswana Congress Party and even the Alliance for Progressives, or even join the Botswana Democratic Party, for that matter.

Dibeela has rubbished the conversation as fake.

He says it is a creation of people that do not want to face inner-party competition.

He traces all of it to his comrades inside the BNF – the usual suspects.

Dibeela is challenging Duma Boko for the leadership of the BNF and this has not sat well with an insolent sub-cultural arm calling itself fearfokol.

Fearfokol controls the BNF through its deployment of vulgar language, abuse of social media, intimidation, blackmail and other use of epithets leveled at anybody they do not agree with – inside the BNF but also in the general public discourse.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, Dibeela said his detractors are afraid of competition.

“There is a so-called conversation between myself and some BDP person (allegedly Rre Masisi) which is doing the rounds on social media. I wish to put it on record that this is a mere concoction by desperate people whose purpose is to malign and cast aspersions on my character. This conversation is not authentic,” he said.

If the conversation is found to be false it would not be the first time that his own comrades have planted something to try to incriminate Dr Dibeela.

He has consistently been the subject of ridicule and insults in public since he announced that he wants to replace Boko as the leader.

He says he remains committed to fighting the misrule of the BDP. And has challenged both the BNF and the UDC [Umbrella for Democratic Change] on whose executives he sits to go to the bottom of the circulating conversation by subjecting him to disciplinary conversation.

He said he has never been a member of the BDP, nor has he ever associated with the party’s policies.

“My name and picture have been superimposed on a fake account I do not have a personal relationship with Rre Masisi, or whoever it is I am alleged to have been talking to.”

He says the conversation is a cheap stunt that has come to characterise Botswana politics.

“I believe it constitutes cybercrime and as such will be reporting it to the police,” said Dibeela.

He said those who are behind all of it are afraid of democratic contest.

He holds the view that these types of smears do not only target individual, but also soil politics as a vocation. The act has left Dibeela angry and saddened, not least because some senior people have bought into the trick, he said.

“It is wrong the way we use social media against each other. The abuse and emotional torture that goes on has to be curbed, otherwise this cyber vigilantism will destroy us,” says Dibeela.


Read this week's paper