The Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) finds itself in the invidious position of having to distance itself from suspicions that it framed its president for sexual misconduct without failing to take steps against him for the same mess to prove that it has indeed had nothing to do with Butale’s unpleasant entanglement.
This is happening in the midst of a narrative that Butale has been an unwanted in the party for some time and that something in one way or another was bound to happen. But this a man whose record as one willing to do anything or former president Ian Khama during the difficult formative stages of the BPF will be hard to erase.
In his statement yesterday (Tuesday), Butale touched on this aspect, saying he joined and led the party when the BPF was not a fashionable entity to be associated with. The party’s publicist Lawrence Ookeditse was on Monday telling journalists that the BPF was a responsible organization that could not go out of its way to tarnish the image of its own president. “The party believes in voting for and voting out its leaders at a congress and as such the insinuations that this was an ouster plan are incorrect,” Ookeditse said.
While some BPF faithfuls have not hidden the fact they do not want Butale in a leadership role, the patron of the party Ian Khama has kept his views on the matter to himself. Sources say Khama’s concerns have always been with the image of the BPF and its public perceptions that he wants it carefully managed. But his younger brother, Tshekedi, is believed to be among people who hold the view that the party‘s fortunes could multiply under a different and more charismatic leader.
Butale is facing serious allegations of sexual misconduct involving a tertiary student, a situation may have already put his BPF presidency and political career on the line. However, only the party congress can take disciplinary action against him but it has been held in abeyance by the COVID-19 pandemic. Should Butale refuse to step down, this may lead to a crisis in the party.