I am back on my seat to restore stability – Butale
Anything and everything said at that press briefing is moot – Ookeditse
It was in July 2017 when the once powerful opposition party, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), descended on Bobonong village for its elective congress, which was overshadowed by divisions between two factions.
The factions were led by the then suspended president, Ndaba Gaolathe, who didn’t recognise his suspension, and the other faction by Sidney Pilane.
What happened in Bobonong was the end of the BMD, it never survived but instead gave birth to Alliance for Progressives. Today, a similar scenario is unfolding at the Botswana Patriotic Front.
The three-year-old party is engulfed in lots of controversy with some factions accusing it’s aspiring president, Guma Moyo, to be a spy who has been sent to destabilise the party.
Although Guma was to face Moiseraele Goya for party presidency, the party’s founding president, Biggie Butale, who has been on suspension, made a grand entrance with a press conference on Wednesday.
Butale announced his comeback as party president and immediately made his intentions known when he said that he would to restore calm and stability.
“As the BPF President, I am instructing that all scheduled party National Executive Committee be cancelled with immediate effect, and that cooperating partners are informed that the negotiating team that they are dealing with on behalf of the BPF, their mandate rescinded and a new one will be forwarded to all opposition parties,” said Butale.
He also announced that all opposition parties or anyone who wants to deal with the BPF must go through him.
“Do not work with anyone who comes to you without a letter that I have authorised. I am the only person who will be signing or giving people authority to carry out duties on behalf of the party,” he added.
Butale also mentioned that he was going to meet the BPF councillors and Members of Parliament very soon.
He asked the NEC to lead by example, especially about what they say or post on social media so as not to bring the party’s name into disrepute.
“Those doing that will be expelled from the party, we want order,” he boomed through the microphone.
However, the party’s spokesperson, Lawrence Ookeditse, dismissed Butale’s comeback and the press conference that he addressed as subject to debate.
“Anything and everything said at that press briefing is moot. It was an address of a bored man with lot of time on his hands to amuse himself and others,” said Ookeditse, who went on to further pour scorn on Butale’s address by stating that responding to such nullity would be a waste of time.
Meanwhile, BPF has issued an unsigned statement to announce that Butale remains suspended and interdicted from discharging duties and functions of the office of the BPF president until conclusion on the investigations of a misconduct case he is facing.
“The office of the president is too important and powerful for one to occupy while being investigated and it would be rather heavy on the committee to continue to make a president in office appear before it,” said the party through a statement.
BUTALE VS DIS
Butale has accused the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) of tempering and altering a conversation he had with a woman he was accused of sexually harassing to unfairly implicate him.
Speaking at the Wednesday press briefing, he said that the DIS made the conversation look like it was recorded by former President, Ian Khama, when in fact it was a case of deep fake emanating from the intelligence services.
However, the DIS has dismissed Butale’s accusations with contempt.
“The DIS has noted with concern the allegations by Butale. Our response, as with similar allegations that came before these, is that the DIS has no business in partisan politics.
“Section 16 of the Intelligence and Security Service Act bars members of the directorate from participating in political activities. Butale, being a former MP and cabinet minister, is well aware of this and the fact that he is not raising the matter with available structures for recourse betrays his real intentions; to place the DIS in a political controversy. If he has evidence that the DIS has violated its own Act, I advise Mr Butale to approach the Tribunal, Ombudsman or the courts of law to register his displeasure. The directorate urges the public to ignore such overtones and continue to have trust in its operations,” said DIS spokesperson, Edward Robert in a statement.