Former Botswana National Front ideologue and Temporary Platform hit man, Elmon Tafa, has returned to the party with which he was once estranged, even going further to okay the ongoing opposition cooperation talks.
Once a leading figure in the BNF leadership, Tafa was a few years back relegated to the backbenches, and eventually banished from the party, after he broke ranks with then BNF President Otsweletse Moupo.
Together with other BNF stalwarts, like Mogalakwe Mogalakwe and Akanyang Magama, Tafa openly criticized Moupo for his leadership style and called on him to resign. They then formed a BNF faction called Temporary Platform, through which they bashed the BNF leadership under Moupo, some of whom are part of the current central committee.
However, Tafa was singing from a different hymn book on Friday, openly endorsing the BNF’s efforts in the ongoing opposition cooperation talks and, for the first time in years, declaring that he has since kissed and made up with his former in-house enemies.
“I was readmitted to the BNF prior to the Mochudi congress. The Temporary Platform does not exist anymore. All members are now fully behind the opposition cooperation project,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the cooperation talks will be successful in the end, saying he was very impressed with the progress made by the conveners and the negotiating teams of the three opposition parties.
Once an outspoken member of the party who never missed an opportunity to fire salvos at his political nemesis, Tafa was uncharacteristically cagey with information last week, saying he could not speak to the media about internal party issues.
BNF Secretary General, Akanyang Magama, confirmed that Tafa is now a bona fide member of the BNF, after being readmitted during the Mochudi congress.
He dismissed allegations that the absence of some key BNF members at the recent BNF congress in Tsabong is a sign that all is not well within the party, saying not all members were able to attend.
While the leadership of the three parties are fighting tooth and nail to present a united front as the cooperation talks drag on, indications are that the situation is not so stable at the grass roots level.
Some die hard party members from within the three parties have still not forgotten the animosity and distrust that used to exist between the Botswana Congress Party and the BNF, especially because the former is an off shoot of the later.
The other cooperation partner, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, is also viewed with suspicion as it is widely considered to be infested with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party activists. There is also a bit of animosity over the exodus of members from the cooperation partners to the BMD.
At the BDP congress in Mahalapye recently, President Ian Khama could not resist the temptation to dismiss the cooperation talks, saying they cannot succeed as the very problems that made them fail at first still exist.