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Worried by alleged BNF relations with DA

LETLHOGILE MPUANG

South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), is considering ending all its ties and relations with one of the Botswana’s oldest opposition parties, fraternal twin Botswana National Front (BNF), The Botswana Gazette has learnt.

Information gathered by this publication suggests that relations between the two parties have in recent years been on a decline due to several contradicting reasons. Top of these is the BNF’s alleged alliance with SA’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA).

It is believed that the ANC has grown even more concerned after it emerged that the DA would assist the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), which is led by the BNF, in Botswana’s imminent general elections. Reports had suggested that the DA would finance the UDC with R3 million (approximately P2.3 million) but both the UDC and the DA have denied this.

ANC’s head of international relations, Bongani Bongo, told The Botswana Gazette this week that his party had attempted but failed to hold discussions with the BNF leadership about these issues. “We invited the BNF for a meeting to talk about these issues but they told us that they were busy preparing for their manifesto launch,” Bongo said.

“We really want to know how they are dealing with our main opposition (DA). We hear that they have received some P3 million from the DA. We want to know all this and make a decision on our relationship with them.”

He pointed to the ANC’s relationship with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which he described as critical for the two parties as well as for maintenance of good relations between the two neighbouring countries.

The UDC’s Secretary General, Moeti Mohwasa, has denied that the BNF has relations with the DA, saying the UDC only had a relationship with the DA through the Botswana Movement for Democracy that was no longer under the UDC.

In the past, Mohwasa has admitted that the relationship between the ANC and the BNF had waned in recent years but said the BNF could not dictate friendships to the ANC. Whereupon former ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe retorted that the BNF was behaving like a nagging wife.

“We have a relationship with both parties,” Mantashe said. “They must not behave like two wives married to one man who are jealous of each other. They must just manage the relationship.”

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