Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Francistown South Chairperson, Dingalo Ditshelo, has denied emerging suggestions that his party is plotting the downfall of the area’s current MP Wynter Mmolotsi, which some sources claim involves the endorsement, for 2019, of BDP’s youthful candidate Jojo Lucas.
According to revelations of one source, “Most of the BCP in the constituency believe that AP has betrayed the opposition struggle of attaining power in 2019 hence the decision to punish Mmolotsi who is the candidate,” he told The Botswana Gazette, insisting on anonymity.
Mmolotsi who is considered Ndaba’s righthand man, is now vice president for the Alliance for Progressives (AP), a new opposition party that splintered from the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) following irreconcilable differences between two major factions, one of which was constituted by Nehemiah Modubule, Gilbert Mangole, Dr Tlamelo Mmatli. This faction, emerged at the controversial BMD’s Bobonong congress in July, with Sydney Pilane as president- having effectively expelled the Ndaba faction of which Mmolotsi was part. With Mmolotsi now out of the way, it is the vacuum he left for the UDC for which rumour is gaining momentum about a BCP, BDP plot.
“If there are any members who are supporting BDP candidates, we are not aware of them, but what I can confirm is that our party never took that decision,” BCP’s Ditsheko told this publication.
Speculation is flying high about what the Umbrella for Democratic Change will decide about Francistown South constituency after Mmolotsi’s departure. Recently, other sources who spoke to this publication suggested that the BCP would likely insist on the constituency, with veteran opposition politician Vain Mamela most likely to be anointed as a UDC candidate.
For his part, BDP’s Lucas said “Though I am not aware of the intention by BCP to support me, I have received a lot of support from the constituency.”
Mmolotsi could not be reached for comment as he is out of the country.
There is an emerging narrative by some in the UDC who are aggrieved by AP’s departure, which shows a willingness to de-campaign the new party’s strongmen like Mmolotsi who are suspected of being against the current opposition coalition. This however happens amid emerging calls for restraint by leaders of the UDC and AP, perhaps a sign that they both, in principle, envisage possible cooperation before the 2019 elections.
A war of attrition between the AP and UDC could have the same effect as in 2014 when the opposition bloc split votes to the advantage of the Botswana Democratic Party, prolonging a historical political tragedy where they repeatedly collapse accord before a major election.