- Constituency committee unhappy over the decision vacate constituency in favour of BMD
- Say they were not consulted
- Wonder why BMD want to contest Francistown west
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Francistown West Constituency Committee is contemplating petitioning the party leadership over the decision to vacate their constituency in favour of BMD, in “exchange” for contesting Maun West.
This comes on a backdrop of the recent agreement between BCP and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Under the agreement BCP exchanged Francistown West with Maun West for the benefit of their President Dumelang Saleshando who will then contest in the constituency. Under the arrangement, which is between the BCP and BMD, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) will be the ultimate beneficiaries as it will be allocated Francistown West to represent Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in 2019, the move has infuriated BCP cadres in the constituency who are decrying lack of consultation prior to the decision being taken.
The constituency met the BCP leadership recently, in a confrontational meeting, where they remained adamant that they would be reluctant to adhere to decisions, taken without their involvement. At the meeting they challenged the decision and told the leadership to revisit it. Their main concern was that the constituency could not be allocated to the BPP, which is non-existent in the constituency.
This week Francistown constituents told The Botswana Gazette that should the party’s leadership fail to revisit the decision, they will write a petition raising their concerns and set out a way to resolve the impasse. Those close to the unfolding events pointed out that their main concern is that the BCP leadership appear reluctant to revisit the decision, which would leave them with no alternative but to convince the leadership to review the decision.
Francistown West Branch Chairman Gilbert Makombo confirmed the development stating that though they have not yet written the petition, it is one of the options they want to pursue in order to make the leadership aware that they are not in favour of the decision of allocating their constituency to a BPP candidate. Makombo said “they (the committee) wonder why BMD cannot just give them Maun West without exchanging it with Francistown West to show that opposition coalition is all about compromise.” Makombo advised that they will highlight that the BCP has already given away two constituencies being Mmopane/Lentsweletau and Tswapong West to BMD therefore they cannot give an extra constituency. “Why is it difficult for BMD to give us Maun West because we also have given them two constituencies without making any demands. BMD should also give us Maun West without making any demands because we have already given some of our constituencies. Also the recent Moselewapula win by the BCP candidate is an indication that the party is strong in the constituency and therefore that should also be considered,” a defiant Makombo revealed in an interview.
BCP Vice President Kesitegile Gobotswang said that the decision is final and cannot be revisited. “This decision of exchanging Francistown west has been finalized. What is left is to consult the members why the decision was taken,” Gobotswang said in an interview.
The Botswana Gazette was unable to interview BMD members within Francistown West constituency as its efforts hit a snag, this publication was unable to locate members of BMD. The party’s National Organizing Secretary Freddy Ramodise opted to comment by insisting that he is the one authorized to talk to the media. He expressed shock at the BCP claims that they are non-existent in Francistown West. Ramodise said as BMD they have members and structures in all constituencies around the country therefore it is surprising that BCP are dismissing them just because they do not agree with the decision of allocating them Francistown West, “We have letter from BCP that confirms that they have agreed to the exchange Francistown West with Maun West, so we are curious about those who are still against the decision which is sealed. Those who are against it have to understand that our structures in Maun were against the decision but for the benefit of BCP President they adhered to the decision. So instead of making these claims BCP should be helping UDC to win Francistown West as much as BMD is helping their President to win Maun West under UDC ticket,” Ramodise said in an interview.