FRANCISTOWN: The Botswana National Front (BNF) is reportedly in negotiations with Tonota South Member of Parliament, Pono Moatlhodi to resign from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and join them, and then represent them in the constituency in this year’s general elections.
Moatlhodi, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, tried to defend his parliamentary seat in the BDP primary elections last year but was defeated by Thapelo Olopeng by 3, 472 votes against his 2, 196. He appealed the results but the party dismissed his appeal.
The MP was this year linked with a switch to the main opposition party, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP); the party reportedly tried to convince him to jump ship.
Reports indicate that the Tonota branch of the BNF has been assessing Moatlhodi’s situation and feel that they can convince him to join them as they have a better following in the constituency compared to the BCP. They are said to have held a secret meeting with Moatlhodi over the weekend. Those who reportedly attended the meeting included amongst others, Shashe Bridge council candidate, Paul Kgaje, Mandunyane Councillor Jobe Matsuane and Councillor Lemme Kgopa of Tonota West.
The BNF believe that Moatlhodi can do better than their candidate, Maokaneng Bontshetse given his wealth of experience and popularity in Botswana politics. This publication is informed that Moatlhodi told the delegation that if they are serious about getting him to join them, he could only join them in October when elections draw closer as he still wants to complete his term as the Deputy Speaker.
While Matsuane claimed ignorance about the weekend meeting safe for saying that he also heard the rumours, Kgopa said that they grab each opportunity that arises to recruit new members. “We have interest in all disgruntled politicians, Moatlhodi included, just like the BDP does when they want members of the opposition. In all political parties, the best way to recruit members is to wait for an opportune time,” said Kgopa.
Reached for comment, Moatlhodi confirmed that the BNF was after him but have not yet agreed anything solid. He said that the opposition parties are so serious about getting him into their sides to the extent that they are approaching his parents. “It is true that both opposition parties have approached me to join them,” he said.
Moatlhodi said that he is not moved by reports that there are BDP members spying on him. “What I heard is that these spies have been deployed to track all my movements, whoever wants to pursue me can go to hell because as a citizen of this country, I enjoy the right to movement, privacy and even freedom of expression,” he said. He said that the opposition could meet him whenever they want because there is nothing barring them from doing that.