Botswana National Front President Otsweletse Moupo has indicated that he will not defend his position at the party congress billed for July. Moupo said at a BNF press conference on Monday that he will not contest any other party position.
“I have decided not to defend my position as President, or to contest any other leadership position. I made this decision on my own and not under external pressure or influence,” he said.
Moupo added that his decision is purely based on personal reasons, and it negates his detractors’ contention that he is clinging to power.
He said that he intends to tour the BNF structures to bid them farewell, and thank them for according him the opportunity to lead the BNF.
Moupo’s leadership was not an easy one. On top of his personal and business problems, Moupo’s reign saw senior party members, notably those of the Temporary Platform, being expelled from the party. The BNF’s primary elections were also mired in controversy, as primary election losers accused the leadership of shoveling 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.
The once formidable BNF managed a paltry 21.4% of the popular vote, down from 25.5% in 2004.
But Moupo still resisted calls for his resignation, saying that the BNF membership would choose a new leadership in July 2010.
He attributed the BNF’s dismal performance to the party’s internal strife, blaming the Temporary Platform for peddling anti BNF propaganda in the media.
“The last three years of my leadership have been challenging, with incessant strife and virulent attacks directed at me by some comrades. I have always strived to do my best to advance the interests of the BNF. I erred in some of my actions, and with the benefit of hindsight, there are certain things I would have done differently,” said Moupo.
He also called on the BNF to reconcile with isolated party members with whom they have differences. He, however, maintained that central committee decisions to expel and suspend some BNF members will not be reversed, quashing hopes that the Temporary Platform will be re-admitted back into the BNF.
He slammed those who blame him for the BNF’s failures, saying he should be judged as part of the collective leadership. He also promised to demonstrate, through the media, that he was never a divisive factor in the BNF.