|November 26, 2001
BOTSWANA: New leader of the oppositional Botswana National Front
Otsweletse Moupo and his Concerned' faction of the Botswana
National Front (BNF) won a resounding victory at the BNF Congress, held at the
weekend of November 24 and 25 in Kanye, defeating all the candidates in the
rival group lobby list led Peter Woto. All the 26 positions contested were won
by Moupo's group, with Woto's Party Line Group emerging without a single seat.
The position of Vice President went to Conference Lekoma, who defeated Gaborone
based attorney Dick Bayford. The position of national chairman went to Mr Klaas
Motshidisi, who beat another party veteran Lemogang Ntime by 553 votes to 421.
The new central committee is expected to lead the party until the coming
General elections scheduled for 2004. In his acceptance speech Moupo said his
priorities include among other things rebuilding the structures of the party,
most of which, he said have become defunct. He also said he would instil some
discipline which he observed is at its lowest ebb in the history of the party.
He said he will not tolerate indiscipline from members of the party, including
from those who helped him to the presidency.
Earlier on when opening the congress the long time party leader and
founder Dr Koma implored his followers to remain united. Koma said while there
will always be differences in a dynamic organisation like the BNF, it is
important that such differences are never allowed to derail members from their
common purpose. He said he was worried by the level of disunity that has
pervaded the Botswana National Front, as demonstrated by some constituencies
that sent two delegations to the congress because they could not agree on who
In a first comment to the results of the elections, the Botswana
Democratic Party (BDP) says it is "regrettable" that the opposition BNF remains
as polarised as ever. The executive Secretary of BDP, Mr Botsalo Ntuane, said
the line-up of the new committee is testimony to the deep polarity that still
bedevils the BNF. "The feud is still there. All those who won are members of
the Concerned Group and the Party Liners have been completely shattered. That
cannot be a recipe for peace and harmony. It is a clear illustration of
division," said Ntuane. (THE BOTSWANA GAZETTE)