- Recruits influential BCP members
- BCP playing ostrich about development
- BMD dismiss claims
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has successfully persuaded Botswana Congress Party (BCP) activist Gaone Lewanika to represent them in the upcoming 2019 general elections.
According to sources, the BMD leadership is convinced that Lewanika is the only credible BCP member capable of toppling the Francistown South constituency from incumbent Alliance for Progressive (AP) Vice President, Wynter Mmolotsi, in 2019 elections.
Francistown South was allocated to the BMD by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the opposition coalition’s constituency sharing arrangement last year. The exit of Mmolotsi from the BMD left the party with a vacuum in the constituency like in other constituencies previously held by MPs who left to form AP. To plug the openings, the BMD is understood to be targeting disgruntled BDP members who are however said to not be falling for the tact.
“That is why they went back to Lewanika and enticed him with the 2019 Francistown South candidacy until he agreed to cross to his former party,” an insider explained. Lewanika is a former BMD activist who defected to BCP late last year following ‘sour working relations’ with Mmolotsi before he left to form AP.
Lewanika confirmed the development but was not in a position to offer details. “It is true I will be a BMD representative for Francistown South constituency but people should not make it a big deal because I will still be representing UDC which is a coalition of opposition parties,” he told The Botswana Gazette.
“Contrary to insinuations that we have been following him, Lewanika voluntarily approached me for membership,” pointed out BMD’s Francistown South Constituency Branch Chairman Tshepiso Mapini.
Lewanika’s move to the BMD follows weeks of speculation regarding the resignation of BCP’s 2014 Maun West candidate, George Lubinda, from the party. Despite him denying it, reports suggest Lubinda will be BMD’s 2019 candidate. His departure from the BCP is said to be a protest against the party for refusing to give him the constituency which is said to be earmarked for the president Dumelang Saleshando.
While BCP Regional Chairman Dickson Ditsheko claimed ignorance about Lewanika’s move to the BMD, he said he was aware of the drive to recruit the party’s members. “Lewanika’s resignation letter has not reached the regional office, but if indeed it is true automatically when a member applies for another party, he forfeits BCP membership,” he said.