- Some members may have connived with opposition
- Money allegedly used to gain their connivance
- BDP Campaign Manager distamces himself from allegations against him
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) branch in Francistown West will investigate allegations that some members of the party may have been paid to de-campaign the party in the Moselewapula bye-election, The Botswana Gazette has established.
This comes in the aftermath of a trouncing of the BDP by the opposition in the weekend bye-election in which the BDP candidate, Ngwisiwa Ntogwa, tallied a paltry 110 votes against the Umbrella forDemocratic Change’s (UDC) 339 and the Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) 334.
The BDP’s Branch Chairman, Otto Masogo, has told The Botswana Gazette that they intend to investigate and establish what contributed to their loss. “We lost because some of our trusted foot soldiers worked with the opposition,” Masogo said.
“It seems money was used to sway some democrats to vote for the opposition, precisely the UDC. This is a discovery that we have made and we will seek the green light from the party to investigate.”
While Masogo avoided accusing any specific people, The Gazette is reliably informed that the Campaign Manager of the BDP in the constituency, Gilbert Boikhutso, was allegedly behind the plot to de-campaign their candidate.
It is said his motive was to ensure that the BDP candidate lost so that Boikhutso would not have to deal with the weight of his incumbency as a candidate in BDP primaries ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Boikhutso is currently a nominated councillor but is believed to have ambitions of being a candidate in the next general elections, especially that it is believed the BDP may adopt a resolution for the incumbents to be endorsed as candidates.
“In the circumstances, Boikhutso swayed some of the BDP voters to the UDC,” said a source who cannot be named. “That is why the BDP was so heavily trounced.”
It is said the Chairman of the BDP Slumber Tsogwane and leaders of the party’s Francistown Region were long made aware of Boikhutso’s suspicious behaviour but denied everything when confronted. “The party long knew about this and warned Gilbert that he would be held accountable if the BDP lost,” the source said.
Reached for comment, Boikhutso attributed their loss to vote buying by the UDC but distanced himself from allegations of conniving with the opposition. Boikhutso added that although money was involved, the UDC must have penetrated the constituency through the efforts of the MP for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, who is a defector from the BDP and its sworn enemy.
“We tried our best, but BDP elders shunned us because they seem to have followed Moswaane to the UDC,” Boikhutso said in an interview.
UDC spokesman Moeti Mohwasa has dismissed the allegations of vote buying. “The allegations are calculated to demean the movement and undermine our hard-earned victory,” he told The Gazette.