Torn Apart

Daniel Chida

Some staunch members of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are torn between attending meetings organised by the troubled party’s suspended party President, Biggie Butale, and staying away.

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Butale, who has filed numerous court cases against a section of his party, BPF and its National Executive Committee, has been attracting impressive crowds to his controversial consultative meetings, the latest of which was at Aerodrome in Francistown where he and his partner-in-suspension, former minister, Master Goya, filled a community hall.

In one of the leaked voice notes, which this publication has in its possession, one of the party’s prominent members is heard advising party members to tread carefully when dealing with the Butale issue.

“We have to be careful and not attend his meetings in large numbers, and have the situation look like he has gone away with the whole party, but at the same time we do not have to portray the BPF as a dead party. Soon, we will be negotiating with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) for constituencies and we need a strategy that portrays us in good light.”

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The member also opined that if they stopped Butale from holding meetings or frustrate his meetings, it may backfire on them. “We have to be seen to be a strong organisation but at the same time we can’t be seen filling his town hall meetings,” he said.

When asked about the tricky situation that the party finds itself in, BPF spokesperson, Lawrence Ookeditse, confirmed that the party had a serious debate on whether their faction should also be filling up halls in parallel meetings or whether they should go directly to the structures.

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“Our decision was that instead of grandstanding, while it’s clear that Butale doesn’t have the numbers, we should be purposive and go after our party structures, not for social media and optics, but for the heart and soul of the party and its structures,” said Ookeditse, who went on to explain that their tour has started both in the north and south of the country, and that people are behind them.

Meanwhile, Butale will be in Palapye on Saturday where he will continue with his consultative tour.

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