TONOTA: As the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections approach, former Tonota Council Chairperson Botho Ntirang, who was among the aspirants who declared interest in challenging Tonota South Member of Parliament Pono Moatlhodi has withdrawn from the race, Northcast has been informed. Ntirang, alongside President Ian Khama’s confi dant Thapelo Olopeng had declared their interests in vying for the constituency’s parliament seat.
However, unfolding reports from the constituency suggests that Ntirang has since changed his mind regarding his earlier plans of challenging Moatlhodi. Sources close to the development allege that Ntirang pulled out from the race because the numbers were not in his favour. They suggest that upon realizing this, he pulled out as he knew he was going to face a stiff competition from the incumbent Moatlhodi. “Moatlhodi is well known in this constituency especially by elders, so if you do not have the ground force as an aspirant, it will be not easy to topple him, so the best way is to pull out like Ntirang did,” said the source.
Furthermore, the source alleged that Ntirang pulled out because his supporters were against his move to challenge Moatlhodi, and instead suggested that he supports Moatlhodi as they feel that he is capable. “Moatlhodi is still capable so if Ntirang challenges him, the votes are going to be shared and once there is split of votes, who knows, Olopeng might win because he has long lured the constituents by donating blankets. Ntirang is not yet ready to topple Moatlhodi but once he is ready we will tell him to contest. We as the voters we are fully aware of everything happening on the ground so we are the ones who can decide on Ntirang’s future,” said the source.
He further said that they do not want Ntirang to contest for the parliamentary seat as they still need him in the ward. “We still need Ntirang’s service in this ward but once he has done his part, we will release him to contest for the parliamentary seat,” he stressed. Reached for comment, Ntirang told Northcast that he pulled from the race because of demands for his services in the ward. “To contest for any position, my voters are the ones who spearhead everything, so if they do not support the move I have to withdraw as they are the ones who send me to represent them. If my structures make decisions, I have to respect that. My voters wanted me to withdraw and contest in the next election and that is why I have pulled back from the race,” emphasized Ntirang.