Former members of the Botswana National Front Elections Board that recently resigned en masse have written a scathing rebuttal of the spin put on reasons behind their resignation.
In a lengthy letter to Mmegi the ex-Board members say they are “dismayed” that the fundamental cause of their resignation has been “naively, simplistically and mischievously” reduced to the Letshabo/Moupo factional tensions.
“The ex-Board has now been branded the Letshabo faction. Where was such labeling when some of us supported the work of the party at every turn, using our meager family resources as we moved from one part of Botswana to another as part of the effort to restore the BNF to its former glory?”
The Board was chaired by a University of Botswana academic and gender activist Dr. Lebohang Letsie.
Taking issue with a statement by the party Publicity Chief, Moeti Mohwasa, the ex-Board says that “it was never the intention of the Board to respond to any of the allegations in the press. But we are forced to respond to the unsavory assertions that our resignation is a natural and expected consequence of the factional tensions in the party.”
Not for the first time, the Board says their resignation was prompted by differences of interpretation (with the Central Committee) about who instrumentally drives the electoral process in terms of the BNF constitution.
“As most people know, working for an opposition party in Botswana entails heavy use of one’s family and personal resources, because the BDP has steadfastly rejected calls for public funding of opposition parties.”
Further taking a jibe at insinuations that they are members of the Letshabo faction, the ex-Board says, “If we were so preoccupied with factional fights surely the faction we are said to be fiercely in support of could have fared better than they did or, at the very least, we would have declined our re-appointment to the Board. We would also have withdrawn our work within the party.”
However well intended, the ex-Board’s diatribe is poised to further add salt to injury to a party currently groping for internal peace and direction.
“There is a strong feeling within the BNF that this Board was from the start never a part of us,” said a source inside the BNF.
“You should remember that after the Molepolole Special Congress there were voices that called on President Moupo to disband the Board. He declined saying it was in the interest of both the party and reconciliation that the Board be left intact. But its clear that through all the conciliatory drives they never shed their trappings of the Letshabo faction,” said another.