While the militant BNF faction harbours a strong resentment for the BCP’s visible presence in Parliament, a leaked conversation has revealed plans to ultimately scupper the opposition coalition experiment that is the UDC. Staff Writer SESUPO RANTSIMAKO reports.
The militant faction of the Botswana National Party known as Fear Fokol has accused the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) of seeking to dominate the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and aims to make the BCP pay for that by hounding it out of the UDC, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Both parties and a third one, the Botswana Peoples Party, are members of the UDC as an opposition coalition.
According to the BNF faction, the BCP is doing everything it can to control the UDC, including campaigning and voting against its parliamentary candidates in the last general elections in October last year. Fear Fokol, which is led by Arafat Khan, has reportedly formed a secret WhatsApp group around plans to scupper the BCP, especially to scuttle its influence within the opposition coalition.
According to sources who have asked for anonymity, these plans include sowing seeds of discord within the BCP towards the goal of ultimately dismantling the opposition project. In the course of the Machiavellian plan, Fear Fokol aims to have the BNF disband from the UDC.
A leaked WhatsApp conversation among members of this group reveals deep-seated loathing for the BCP that worsened after it was overshadowed at the polls last year and resentment that the BCP is taking all the opposition limelight in Parliament that should be going to the UDC as a coalition.
Fear Fokol believes this was always the plan of the BCP that was hatched before 2019 general elections and that a feature of the plan was to vote against BNF parliamentary candidates. “BCP is the biggest enemy that we are fighting internally. We are fighting with BCP and Domkrag. Following 2019 general elections, BCP even took the celebrations to social media,” a member of the BNF faction, Owe Mmolawa, says in one of the leaked conversations.
Another activist, Khan, likens the BCP to a snake and expresses revulsion for the temerity of the BCP to have proposed a total merger of the two parties.
However, upon being contacted, the BNF’s Secretary for Publicity and Information, Justin Hunyepa, said the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had infiltrated opposition activists and should be blamed for the divisive posture that seems to be developing within opposition ranks. Hunyepa spoke of rumours that some of their activists had received money from the BDP as payment to work to destroy their relationship with BCP.
Even so, the BNF spokesman accused BCP activists of playing dirty by writing negatively about the BNF in different local newspapers. “We have realised that BCP activists also have fallen into the trap and have started writing negatively about the BNF,” he said. “This is an indication that the opposition has been infiltrated and its members are being used to destroy it. So our members should be careful because we do not expect this to end soon.”
But a more senior official of the BCP, Secretary General Phillip Monowe, has denied existence of any animosity between the two parties but expressed confusion over the Fear Fokol’s behaviour. He said at the leadership level, both the BCP and the BNF have no problem working together.
Meanwhile, at the BDP, the party’s Chairman of Communications and International Relations, Kagelelo Kentse, has dismissed claims that the BDP paid opposition activists to attack one another and destroy the UDC.