Friday, September 17, 2021

Moupo joins public service

Former Botswana National Front (BNF) President Otsweletse Moupo has joined the public service as North West Distinct Council attorney. Moupo’s appointment was confirmed by the council’s Chairman Latlhang Mulonda this week.

“Yes it is true. He joined us this year and he has reported for duty,” said Mulonda. Contacted for comment, the soft spoken former BNF leader declined to discuss his appointment saying he does not want to talk about his private life with the media.

“I don’t want my private life probed into for now. I’m not discussing anything at all. You can do your own investigations,” said Moupo letting out his trademark chuckle. Moupo took leave from active politics in 2010, following a decision not to contest the BNF presidency or any other leadership position during the BNF congress.

Moupo was elected to Parliament in 2005 after he had relocated from Selibe Phikwe to contest the Gaborone West North by-election following Paul Rantao’s death. His leadership began to unravel when personal and business problems started making more news than his political activism. In a bid to save his political career, he expelled some senior party members, notably those of the Temporary Platform (mostly University of Botswana academics), who were calling on him to step down. Among those who encouraged him to hang tough was former president, Festus Mogae.

At one stage, the BNF’s primary elections were also mired in controversy, as primary election losers accused the leadership of forcing preferred candidates down their throats, and contested primary election results in court. In the end, a lot of constituencies that were previously BNF strongholds were lost to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The once formidable BNF managed a paltry 21.4% of the popular vote, down from 25.5% in 2004. At the height of his leadership crisis, Moupo was granted a six-week Sabbatical Leave to sort out his problems.

He suffered a major setback when his law firm was struck off the register for failing to conform to the law; something that observers say was a perfect political storm for his rivals in the party to nudge him out. The law firm, (though he has since regularised and provided with a practicing certificate), was subsequently placed under curatorship. Before this, his political problems had multiplied when he offered to resign his party position amidst claims that certain officials were pushing him out because of his blunders.

But Moupo still resisted calls for his resignation, saying that the BNF membership would choose a new leadership in July 2010 and attributed the BNF’s dismal performance to the party’s internal strife, blaming the Temporary Platform for peddling anti BNF propaganda in the media. He had to endure damning claims that he ran out of money while on a private trip in England and got stranded with no money to return home. Despite the pressure and scandals he went through, Moupo soldiered on and by joining the public service he may have written his political obituary.

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