Saturday, January 23, 2021

Temporary Platform defies Moupo in Francistown

Embattled members of the BNF’s temporary platform are expected to hold political rallies around Botswana to try and garner support against the BNF Central Committee (CC) and party president Otsweletse Moupo.

Information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that the disgruntled BNF members had planned to launch their political crusade against the BNF leadership yesterday (Saturday) in Francistown.

Members who are expected to attend the large scale political rally include dismissed members Elmon Tafa and Nehemiah Modubule, Akanyang Magama, Dr. Lebohang Letsie and other disgruntled BNF members who have either been suspended or are due to face disciplinary action soon.

Indications are that the political rally was an avenue through which the temporary platform would chart the way forward and inform their supporters about their intentions, especially after the expulsion of Nehemia Modubule and Elmon Tafa. The political rally was to be held in Francistown South where Tafa was due to contest the general elections against BDP’s Wynter Molotsi and BCP’s Vain Mamela. Information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that a number of BNF members who are due to face disciplinary action have concluded that the central committee will either suspend them or expel them from the party thereby pouring water on any political ambitions that they might have harboured, at least for the coming general elections.

They told The Sunday Standard on Friday that Magama’s dismissal is a foregone conclusion regardless of the outcome of the court case in which he is challenging the decision of the party to order a re-run of the BNF primaries in Gaborone South. “We know that Moupo and his central committee want to purge those who differ with the central committee. It is therefore a foregone conclusion that Magama will go down the same way as Modubule and Tafa,” they said on Friday.

The Francistown rally would be the first of a number of political rallies around Botswana through which the temporary platform is looking to clarify their stand to the political masses and also expose their intentions going forward, especially after the expulsion of Tafa and Modubule.

The expulsion of BNF ideologue Elmon Tafa and Lobatse MP Nehemia Modubule last week was a culmination of a series of drawn out brawls between Moupo and his central committee on the one hand and the temporary platform on the other hand. The trio had earlier called for Moupo’s resignation and a national congress at which a new BNF leadership could be elected.

BNF president Otsweletse Moupo announced at a recent press conference that the expulsion of Tafa and Modubule and the suspension of Duncan Basenyapelo were largely meant to restore order and discipline in the party, especially since the wayward members had repeatedly flouted party rules, behaved in a grossly disorderly way and organized factional groupings.
However, they would later say that they disregard the decision of the disciplinary committee and the central committee, saying that they remain staunch members of the BNF. “No one can expel me from the BNF. I joined on my own volition,” Elmon Tafa was quoted as saying. He would later tell The Sunday Standard that they are not a faction as the BNF leadership is charging, but rather a group of members who have a difference of opinion with the party leadership.

“The word faction gives an impression of malicious intent. But we are just a group of members who feel that the party leadership should do things the right way. That is allowed in the BNF constitution and in any democratic dispensation,” he said. Tafa added that they have never boycotted any party activities or waged a slanderous campaign of destabilization against the party, but are rather seeking to be given an opportunity to voice out their disagreements with the party leadership.

“Instead, it is the central committee that has resorted to drastic and off the cuff measures like dismissals and suspensions to silence those who are perceived to be against Moupo’s leadership. It is disheartening that the central committee continues to marginalize those who hold dissenting views against them. The central committee seeks to reverse the outcomes of the party primaries which we won through a democratic process, as a means of purging those of us who are against their leadership,” said Tafa on Friday.

Tafa also maintained that the expulsion from the BNF does not hold water as they do not have a problem with the BNF but with the leader, Otsweletse Moupo and the central committee. “We wonder why the leadership is looking to destabilize the party and give the BNF strongholds like Gaborone South and Lobatse to the ruling party on a silver platter. Dismissals will not get us anywhere. Anyway, as far as we are concerned we do not recognize the dismissals because we don’t have a problem with the BNF but rather with Moupo,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tafa and Modubule’s supporters have dismissed threats by BNF Secretary General Mohammed Khan that they will face the wrath of the law if they hold political rallies under the party name as unfounded. They insist that Modubule’s assertions that the BNF only dismissed him from the party because they wanted to pave way for Moupo loyalist Otlaaduisa Koosaletse hold water, especially after Khan revealed that the BNF will undoubtedly field a new candidate in Lobatse. “Besides, Modubule has his own party which he can use. Also any other member can hold a rally as an independent candidate. But the bottom line is that we will go ahead with the rally mainly because we do not recognize these expulsions,” they insisted.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper