Botswana Democratic Party President Seretse Khama Ian Khama expressed his support for the Botswana National Front members who are against the Umbrella model.
Speaking at a rally to welcome Jwaneng Mayor, Amos Jahana into the BDP, Khama urged BNF members to appeal to party President Duma Boko to reconsider the Umbrella as they will not benefit from the model because their partners, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) was dead and buried.
“Ask Boko not to kill the BNF symbol, if they are still fighting now I do not see them doing well in the general elections. I am not going to mention their friends The People’s Party because they are history,” Khama said.
Kgatleng District Council, Chairman Tona Mooketsi, who is largely viewed as the leader of the BNF members who are calling for the BNF symbol to be used in the 2014 elections said he agreed with Khama for the first time in his political career.
“Khama was speaking like a patriotic citizen, he was not being partisan, he is a man with wisdom and he is a man concerned about the future of this country. It is political suicide for one to think you can just remove the BNF from the Botswana political landscape. Every country needs strong opposition to hold government accountable,” he said
Mooketsi added that their concern is the future of the country and the future of the BNF. “It is not easy to build a party profile overnight. BNF took years to build its profile; we thought the Umbrella was about cooperation but what we see is a new political party.” he added.
BNF Secretary General Tapela Kgosikoma rubbished Khama’s statement, “we have been asking ourselves why our members started attacking the umbrella model now we just realised that Khama has all the answers. We are not killing the BNF symbol we want it incorporated in the umbrella,” he said.
Khama also took a swipe at the BCP claiming that Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Kentse Rammidi, Botswana Congress Party secretary general Kesitegile Gobotswang and the Party Publicity secretary, Taolo Lucas do not want the party president, also a member of Parliament for Gaborone Central Dumelang Saleshando as their leader.
“These three say Saleshando is a dictator, my source within the BCP revealed that the three prefer James Olesitse as the party president,” he told the crowd.
Contacted for comment the three denied planning to oust their leader, Gobotswang dismissed the President remarks saying they were intended to destabilise the BCP, “It is very disappointing that someone of his calibre could say something like that. It is not the first time this issue comes up. We are as united as ever in the BCP,” he said.
Rammidi said Khama statements was the kind of craziness that drove him out of the ruling BDP. “There is no way I can undermine my president, this is all rubbish. I heard about his statements and really it is disappointing that someone like him could say that,” he said.