INSIDE BNF'S CHAOS
The President of Botswana National Front (BNF) Women’s League Dr Bonang Nkoane has resigned from her position in the party, and according to sources close to the party leadership, her decision to resign from the Women’s League portfolio is a culmination of an acrimonious relationship that has been evident between her and the party leader, Duma Boko.
Dr Nkoane has been president of the BNF Women’s League since March last year when she succeeded Dorcas Mothusi. According to insiders, for the longest time, Nkoane has decried a democracy deficit in the party, accusing Boko of making unilateral decisions. Reports say Nkoane is annoyed by Boko’s dictatorial tendencies, and these allegations were strengthened this week by former BNF Youth League Leader Resego Kgosidintsi when in her reaction to Nkoane's move, she described her as a brave woman before writing: "We need to start addressing issues ka mowa o oleng go satwe ope o rekilwe. Eseng jalo Puo Phaa e re e ratang go taa sala lepeka. We owe it to ourselves to pick that party up and detox it of any dictatorial traits. It is our responsibility ha go santse go ntse jalo le taa namo le re bitsa di arm chair revolutionaries." Resego also recently resigned as the Youth Wing leader of the BNF.
In her letter of resignation, Nkoane wrote: “There seems to be endless chaos within in the BNF leadership and the centre certainly fails to hold. Therefore, I do not wish to waste anymore of my precious time. I wish to focus my resources and energy on my children and my professional career.” When on Monday The Midweek Sun sought to speak to Dr Nkoane about the resignation, she declined to comment except to say this publication should talk to the BNF Secretary General, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa. Efforts to speak to both Motshegwa and party leader Boko hit a snag, but party Chairperson Patrick Molotsi denied Nkoane was leaving because of any complaint against the party leadership.
“Even her letter does not say anything about mistreatment by anybody in the party leadership. What we know is that, she stepped down due to family and career challenges. If she had issues with the leadership, she would have gone through the existing channels of recourse,” said Molutsi who added that he and the former Women League leader, spoke reasonably frequently, and she would have told him if she had issues with the party or an individual in the BNF leadership.
“My belief is that, she had genuinely meant to serve the organisation only to discover later that she was overwhelmed hence her resignation. That, in my view, is normal. People frequently ask to be released from duty,” Dr Molutsi told The Midweek Sun. Yet another source close to the leadership did confirm that Dr Nkoane's letter was saying more than what the party Chairperson was saying. The party official alleges that Boko has rubbed many in the BNF the wrong way with his tendency of not only making unilateral decisions but, in some instances, changing Central Committee decisions unilaterally.
The sources say Boko is not a good listener, and despite efforts to help him get back on track, and even hiding from the public the kind of person he is, he has scoffed at such efforts. Nkoane has had enough, they say. Reportedly, the only person Boko ever listens to is the BNF chairman, Dr Molutsi.
“The only problem is that Molutsi is not assertive enough. He is too much of a gentleman and, perhaps inadvertently, allows Boko to do as he pleases," another BNF member close to the party affairs lamented.
According to the informants, Boko is becoming increasingly difficult so much that many are beginning to wonder whether he still wants state power.
“Anybody who wants state power works harmoniously with his people. Also, he avoids controversy at all costs. Above all else, an ambitious leader must listen and take seriously the advice of the people he is working with for the sake of unity.
“A leader must, instead of begrudging his or her critics within the party, embrace them because, just like him, they are co-members of the party whose welfare can only be assured by a united membership.
“Boko can be confusing. For instance, when he goes to a Central Committee (CC) and does not like the agenda for some reason, he stops the meeting after subjecting the organisers of the meeting to a barrage of unfair criticism,” one of the sources added.
They say Boko would even intimidate those who would not agree with his position in a debate, even going to the extent of telling them that he is the best lawyer in Botswana! The sources say they are however alarmed that despite Boko’s erratic behaviour, the BNF president still has thousands of supporters out there who believe in him. They say he has the charisma and a way of making public appearances that would make anyone believe he is a great leader.
They however point to the likes of Botswana Congress Party leader Dumelang Saleshando and other former BNF officials such as his former Vice President Prince Dibeela who after defending him and protecting him publicly for some time, eventually gave up and stopped working with him. Added to these are both the former Youth League leader Kgosidintsi, and now Dr Nkoane, who also could not take it anymore. Unlike Nkoane, Kgosidintsi only stepped down from her position, but not from the party as she believes something can still be done to redeem the BNF.
Yet the sources close to the party leadership still say he remains a powerhouse. “Boko is not a pushover. His support base is solid. The extent at which he has branded himself and made himself indispensable may eventually make things difficult for him to be replaced any time soon. His dictatorial tendencies may continue to grow,” one of the sources said.
On the other hand, there are concerns by Boko’s supporters that the incessant criticisms of Boko may cause the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to struggle to make an impact in next year’s general elections. Boko doubles as the president of the UDC; an opposition coalition with a total of four political parties.