Former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama has no choice but to side with Biggie Butale for the leadership of Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). This comes after the more experienced Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi could not raise her hand and join the new party.
Butale, a recently suspended Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) member and Member of Parliament for Tati West has been at the forefront of the formation of the party. “He has been running the affairs of the party together with Roseline Panzirah-Matshome and from a distance Samson Moyo Guma. The influence of the trio has had other would-be members being sidelined,” said a source within the BPF.
“The choice of Butale over Venson-Moitoi is raising worries that a party in its early formation will lose credibility. Not long before Khama was backing Venson-Motoi, and to now switch to Butale without explanation has gotten many to be disillusioned.” The belief within the majority of the BPF members is that Venson-Moitoi has been on a campaign since December vying for the BDP leadership; therefore it would make sense to continue with her and ride on her momentum. They want her lured to the party.
They also point to her experience as an administrator, Member of Parliament and Cabinet as qualities that can be used to sell her to voters. “At her age she can be seen as unifier than a longtime office bearer thereby giving space for other future leaders to be groomed. Some in the party believe Butale’s leadership style is already of concern. He is thought to be combative, and doesn’t allow for consultation. As it is, nobody knows basic information of the party, where the offices are, who is coordinating things, and even how delegates are going to get to Kanye,” said a concerned party member.
All this they blame on Butale who seems to have centered everything on himself, it is said. One former MP stated that: “Khama is making the same mistakes he made with Masisi. Khama is a nice person, but he is naïve. Taking an unpopular, leader and imposing him on people. What he Khama often sees in these people, only him knows.” “Again, Butale is being used just like he got Mpho Balopi from obscurity and made him Secretary General of the party.
The result – division within the party he Khama left in the BDP and a decline in popularity. As a matter of fact, we are grateful for some of his initiatives together with Roseline to get things going for BPF. But let them be assigned appropriate responsibilities that match their skills set and capacity for now. Biggie Butale will have time to lead the BPF at an opportune time, but now is not the right time.” The source went further to say that often Khama chooses people for his own interests rather than that of the collective or the organisation.
Another cause of concern for the party is the insistence of Khama and Butale to hold inaugural elections at the upcoming congress in Kanye. Many within the party say the party is not ready for elections, and that besides the elections outcome will divide the party. They hold a view that what the party should be aiming for is an interim arrangement, one that allows for proper building of party infrastructure, procedures and processes. “Let’s learn to walk before we start running. As it we are beseeched with many elementary problems, an internal election is not and should not be a priority.”
“We however feel the momentum with BPF. We are the talk of town. While we may not win all constituencies, we are certainly sure we are going to make a dent on the electoral space. We are going to make sure BDP is not returning to power, and we are comfortable in having coalition pact run the next government of Botswana. “We will win the combined Central and the North, and have UDC bring in the South to form a new government after the elections. And we do not fear a Boko Presidency.”
Contacted for comment, Venson-Moitoi dismissed the allegations that she has interest in BPF presidency. “I have never said to anybody that I want to be president of the BPF. I never sought residency at BPF. I still have my BDP membership,” she said. For his part, Khama indicated that he is surprised at the allegations. “BPF is a democratic party which does not belong to an individual. Its office bearers are elected by the people at a constituted congress where delegates are at liberty to nominate anyone of their choice.”
Meanwhile Butale did not dispute the allegations of divisions within the party, but noted that, “In a party setup there will always be misunderstandings. And misunderstandings do not mean fights.” Party spokesperson Panzirah-Matshome only said, “The people shall choose their leadership on July 6 in Kanye, not Khama.”
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.