Cracks emerge in BCP/MELS merger

TONOTA: The decision by the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership to merge with Marx Engels Lenin Stalin (MELS) Movement of Botswana in Tonota South constituency in the coming general elections seems to have rubbed some within the party the wrong way. They say that the decision was made without consultations, Northcast has been informed.

While the party has resolved to merge with MELS and endorse Themba Joina to contest for the parliamentary seat, unfolding reports within the constituency suggest that the decision was only taken by the party leadership without consulting lower structures including the Tonota South branch.

Some of the members who spoke to Northcast said that they were surprised that BCP’s Tebogo Duna, who has long shown aspirations to contest the constituency, was never consulted about this development. In fact, what seems to bother the constituents is that while Joina’s opponents are busy positioning themselves for the coming general elections, he has never made inroads in the constituency.

“We feel that Joina will not bring any impact in this constituency because it seems like he is not interested unlike Duna who has made serious inroads. So we feel that Duna could have been left to contest this constituency as he has long declared his interest,” revealed one of the constituents.

Contacted for comment, Duna confirmed that he declared his interest in contesting the constituency but said that there is nothing he can do since the leadership has made the decision. “It is true that I have long shown aspirations to contest for this parliamentary seat unfortunately the party resolved to endorse Joina for the reasons I do not know,” he said, and referred this reporter to the Branch Chairperson, Neo Sefume who refuted claims that Duna was not consulted.

He said that he is the one who came up with the idea to merge with MELS upon realisation that the BCP had no representation in the 2009 general elections, and he suggested the idea to the party leadership. He said as the Branch Chairperson, he consulted the constituents about the initiative and subsequently, the party leadership agreed with the idea. “I brought this initiative because BCP has few members in Tonota, so I started recruiting more members and suggested this development because we wanted our party to be represented,” he explained.

Sefume said that though some members expressed interest in contesting the constituency in the 2014 general elections, most of them showed signs of cowardliness because they never came back. “Duna is one of the members who came at the last minute and showed his seriousness in 2012. We then waited for him but he never came back until we approached Joina after realising Duna’s cowardliness. Subsequently, he came after we finalised our initiative with MELS,” said Sefume, adding that this was a sign that he had no dream.
Sefume said that though they have not yet endorsed Joina, they have made serious inroads in preparations for the coming general elections.