Disgruntled BNF members to contest as independent candidates

Expelled members of the Botswana National Front (BNF) Gabriel Kanjabanga and Lemogang Ntime together with other party members who were against the BNF joining the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) have said that they will contest for the 2014 general elections as independent candidates.

Speaking at a press conference they had organised on Monday, Kanjabanga said it was unfortunate that they were expelled from the party two years ago after advising against the BNF forming an umbrella party with the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). He said it is now visible to everyone that they were talking sense as there is mass exodus of members especially from BMD to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

He said his group aims to save  the BNF and said even though he was expelled, he will not join any other party because he believes in the BNF policies which he said most of the successful government policies were built from. He said the UDC was made up of power hungry members of the BDP who came to destabilise the opposition and then return to the BDP.

Kanjabanga said the umbrella project is failing and breaking the BNF further apart as it has been losing by-elections even in areas where BNF once stood strong. Out of 18 Council and Parliamentary by-elections held since the 2009 general elections, the BDP won 14 while the entire opposition got a combined four. The wards and constituencies that the BDP won include amongst others Tsholofelo in Broadhurst, Dibete in Mahalapye East, Shashe Mooke in Tonota South, Boikhutso in Selibe Phikwe, Lenganeng in Tlokweng, Tshikinyega in Mahalapye, Mahalapye West, Tonota North and Letlhakeng West.

Kanjabanga, an attorney by profession, announced that he will be contesting for the interests of BNF members in  the Gaborone Bonnington North constituency. He is expected to face BNF and UDC president Duma Boko, current Member of Parliament Robert Masitara of the BDP, former president of the Student Representative Council of the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Poloko Pitwane, and possibly Anna Motlhagodi or BCP vice president Motsei Rapelana , depending on who will win the BCP primary elections in the constituency.

At least seven BNF members are expected to stand independently, and amongst those who were mentioned at the press conference are Moses Kajane who will contest for a council seat at Ledumang ward, Pule Letebele will contest for a council ward in the Kanye South constituency while Lemogang Ntime will contest for a parliamentary seat in Kweneng East.

Letebele said that they have the support of nine regions around the country and  that they are trying to maintain the existence of the BNF but are not allowed to express their concerns about the UDC. Some of the regions mentioned include Ghanzi, North Central, South Central, Boteti and Kweneng.

Reached for comment, BNF secretary general, Tapiso Kgosikoma said there has never been a formal complaint concerning the UDC from its members. Kgosikoma said all the 10 regions endorsed the Umbrella and that their members are whole heartedly behind the project. He further said Kanjabanga and his team has always are about nothing but cause trouble in the party, something he said will leave them with no votes even if they contest as independent candidates.