SESUPO RANTSIMAKO & SONNY SERITE
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has reiterated their stance that they will only give their constituency to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) on condition they too give away their constituency to the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP).
Elaborating on their condition to the BCP, the leader of BMD Sidney Pilane said in an interview on Monday that his party wants to promote relative contentment within the UDC and as such sees the BCP request as an opportunity to achieve that. ‘‘The BCP has asked for Maun West for their leader. The BPP has long, long before the BCP asked for Francistown West. The BCP will get Maun West and the BPP will get Francistown West. The UDC can then get past the distraction of constituencies and concentrate on the most important prize working and winning the 2019 general election elections,’’ Pilane said. He however said they still await BCP’s response to their proposal and that they also plan to hold primary elections in all the BMD 14 constituencies in early May. ‘‘We hope to hear from the BCP by then. Obviously, we will not hold them in Maun West if, before then, the BCP respond that they will give us Francistown West. If we do not, I am afraid we will have to proceed with the primary election in Maun West as well,’’ the BMD leader warned.
Though initially allocated to BMD, Maun West for a long time has been a source of contention between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) contracting partners. While other partners especially BCP and Botswana National Front (BNF) wanted BMD to give the constituency to BCP, on the other hand the BMD has been adamant that they will not as they have the capacity to manage all the 14 constituencies allocated to them.
Under the new arrangement, though the exchange is between BCP and BMD, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) is the one that will field a representative in Francistown West. Sources in the BCP say it is only a matter of time before the BCP leadership announces the new development (acceding to BMD demands), a decision that is likely to also ignite acrimony within the BCP. ‘‘I am saying this considering that BCP has just finished vetting last week and now all the three primary election candidates will be expected to pave way for BPP while they have been busy with preparations for the elections,” the source revealed.
The BMD’s gesture of benevolence towards BPP is said to be a reward for the support they (BPP) extended to BMD during the recent UDC congress. “Ahead of the recent UDC congress BMD approached BPP for support. In return the BPP was to benefit from some of the BMD constituencies. You might be aware that BPP has long been fighting for additional constituencies and ahead of the congress, BMD promised them provided they give them support. While other UDC partners wanted the congress to be a decision making one BMD was against and wanted BPP to support them,” revealed the source.
BCP primary hopefuls who are supposed to lock horns in the primary elections include 2014 Francistown South candidate Vain Mamela, 2014 Tati-west parliamentary candidate Maria Kusasa as well as the new entrant Mothusi Chimbise.
BCP President Dumelang Saleshando confirmed that the BMD has written them a letter indicating that they want Francistown West in return for Maun West. He was however unable to disclose whether BCP will accede to the demands of the BMD.