- Calls for urgent meetings with structures to resolve differences - Fears congress won't be held under a conducive environment
The self-exiled Patron of Botswana Patriotic Front Ian Khama met all four Members of Parliament in South Africa this week Tuesday to map a way forward for the faction-riddled party ahead of its elective congress next month.
The estranged Bangwato kgosikgolo has pleaded for calm as factional wars continue to engulf the party that he formed in 2019 ostensibly to remove President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his ruling party from power.
During Tuesday’s meeting with MPs Mephato Reatile MP for Jwaneng-Mabutsane; MP for Serowe South Leepetswe Lesedi; Baratiwa Matlhootlhe MP for Serowe North and Tshekedi Khama of Serowe West (who has also joined his elder brother in self-exile), Khama discussed the status of the party and ways to urgently engage party structures before next month’s congress in Tati Siding.
Khama is extremely worried that the infighting has taken a nasty turn to the extent that some of the National Executive Committee members have been slapped with suspensions while the Women’s League has been dissolved.
The party is currently torn between Samson Moyo Guma and Moiseraela Goya, both of whom are vying for the party’s presidency.
Khama is said to have declared his support for Goya against Guma on grounds that Guma will make him lose grip of the party. Goya has also revealed that Khama supports his candidacy and expressed confidence in winning the presidency.
Khama says it will be unhealthy for the party to go into the elective congress in the state it is now. He challenged party structures in regions and branches to engage to resolve the differences within the party, especially at the NEC.
He said that the BPF has to first be united if it is to work with other opposition parties to overthrow the ruling party.
“What I can tell you is that I do not like factions. Now in our party, we see people being suspended. The people who are being suspended are the ones who have shown interest to contest for positions during the congress.
“One of the people suspended by the NEC is Councillor Vuyo Notha who is the Deputy Secretary General. He is also contesting for elections. This is the same person who has worked hard to make the BPF what it is today.
“What is happening in our party now is no different from what President Mokgweetsi Masisi is doing at the Botswana Democratic Party,” Khama said.
Khama who is rallying behind Goya’s lobby group stated that they cannot go to the congress when there is no peace in the party. "We have some people in the NEC who have created these problems for us," he said.
According to Khama, there is no how he cannot pledge his support for certain people for NEC positions when he can clearly see that there are some who want to divide the party.
“My job as the patron is to make sure that I unite this party. I have to ensure that those who want to divide the party do not have a place in our party.
“People who are dividing the party, suspending people, and dissolving party structures are the ones that we should suspend.
“I do not mind continuing as the patron as long as we have an NEC which protects the interests and goals of our party,” Khama said. Khama has indicated that he will remain active in the activities of the BPF depending on the composition of the NEC post the elective congress.
There are threats by some sections of the party that if the leadership fails to resolve the differences they will boycott the congress and hold a separate meeting during the congress in Serowe.