Additional constituency demands divide BPP

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  • Membership distance themselves from the demands
  • BPP leadership pushes for additional constituency only to satisfy the few – claim

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

FRANCISTOWN: The general membership of the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) has distanced themselves from the demands of additional constituencies by the party leadership.
Contrary to party leadership assertions that the party is demanding four additional constituencies, a highly placed source within the party told The Botswana Gazette that as the party general membership they only learnt from the local media that their party was demanding four additional constituencies.
Early this year, the BPP which is a partner in the Umbrella for Democratic Party (UDC) was allocated four constituencies to contest in 2019 general elections but immediately rejected the offer saying it leaves them under-represented. Also the BPP Youth League President Takula Lenyatso wrote a strong worded statement saying that giving them four constituencies shows that their party has been pushed to the edge and considered a non-significant component of the larger UDC.
Its partners Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) got 14 while Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) were awarded 22 and 17 respectively.
However, while the party leadership is pushing for additional four constituencies The Botswana Gazette is reliably informed that the general membership does not support the demands on the grounds that they do not have support base in the constituencies the party is demanding. The source claimed that party President Motlatsi Molapise only adhered to the demands because they are wanted by his close allies who wanted to contest the 2019 general elections. “It must be noted that as the National Executive Committee (NEC) we have never resolved to demand additional constituencies because we know that our party no longer exist in some of the targeted constituencies. Therefore our leadership has to stop claiming that the membership is the one demanding more constituencies as we learnt this from the media,” revealed the insiders.
Citing Boteti East as one constituency that is targeted by the BPP leadership, the source said it would be an uncalculated move by UDC partners because the BPP is no longer visible. “Recently the BCP together with BNF Boteti-East branches called a meeting to discuss BPP demands in the constituency but we were left embarrassed after only one of us attended. Our party leadership were long told about this meeting but we were so surprised when there were no constituents present. This is a clear indication that BPP no longer exists in Boteti-East but the leadership does not want to admit and let either BCP or BNF to contest this constituency,” said the source, wondering if those who make demands of additional constituencies would manage to revive party structures.
UDC Spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said the issue of additional constituencies does not arise because allocations were based on set guidelines.
“All the parties under UDC were represented and the guidelines set by all these parties were used during allocations of constituencies. But since the BPP is now making some demands we the UDC NEC will soon meet to discuss the issue,” he told this publication.
The BPP president could not be drawn into discussing the matter as he claimed to be in a meeting. “I am still in a meeting but I promise to come back to you once I am ready,” he said when reached for comment.