Gudu throws in the towel for good

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Chedza Mmolawa

 Veteran opposition politician Richard Gudu, the chairman of the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) has announced that he has thrown in the towel in the fight to become a parliamentary candidate for Tati West. The veteran politician made the announcement to this publication after his loss to fellow comrade Tshepo Makhani against whom he was contesting the party’s primary elections over the past weekend. Gudu obtained 623 votes to Makhani’s 1046 votes.

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The primary was the first time Gudu had been challenged by a fellow comrade for the position of MP since he started contesting national elections under the party colours for North-East constituency since 2004. In 2019, he represented the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) where he got 3506 votes losing to Biggie Butale of the BDP who garnered 4510. The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) was voted by 1671 while an independent candidate picked 819 votes. The long serving politician had prior to the primary elections announced that, regardless of success or failure at the primaries it would be the last time he would run for national political office.

In an interview with The Botswana Gazette, Gudu revealed that he is well and cheerful at the outcome of the primary elections and did not want to dwell on the process of the elections. Gudu made it clear during the interview that he is first and foremost a member of the BPP and UDC and his loyalty lay with his party as a member of the Umbrella. “As you

can hear over the phone, I am cheerful and well. I will not comment on the actual elections themselves, but I will say I am loyal to the BPP and the UDC. If I was to be deployed by those parties to represent the somewhere else, I would do that without a shadow of doubt. But as of now, I stick to my initial statement that I will no longer contest in this region for parliamentary candidacy.”

The veteran made short shift of any allegations of bad blood between him and Makhani, revealing that there is no conflict between him and the young novice politician, and that they spoke on the phone after the results were announced. Gudu confirmed that he and Makhani had intended to have a meeting on Sunday afternoon but they were both too tired to meet.

Gudu disclosed that due to fatigue, they spoke over the phone where he got the opportunity to congratulate Makhani. Asked if he will challenge the outcome of the results, Gudu said he prefered not to make comment on the matter and would rather

congratulate the winner of the elections, “As of now I will continue being the Richard Gudu you all know and understand, well for those who know me.”

Makhani and his team will faceoff whoever wins the upcoming BDP re-run primary elections, he said it does not matter whether Mavange wins the re-run or Butale wins back the position, he is ready to compete. On the 25th of August, incumbent MP for the constituency and Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Biggie Butale lost the party primaries, losing 2022 to young politician Simon Mavange Moabi. Butale challenged Moabi’s victory at the primaries and was granted a second chance when the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee informed him of a re-run.

“The fact that Mavange won the BDP youth league elections shows that there is a serious lack within the BDP and I will address that and convince the public to place their faith in me,” said Makhani. He added that he is not in a position to get over-excited about his weekend victory because Gudu has not yet confirmed whether he accepts the outcome of the results or if they will also be forced to have a re-run.

“I will breathe a sigh of relief only after Gudu tells the electoral committee that he accepts my victory. But him and I are ok, we even spoke after the elections and he congratulated me. At the end of the day primary elections are about one team. We were simply two individuals with different perspectives but coming from the same home. We are family and I have great respect for Gudu. As for the what will happen from here, as soon as the outcome of the result is confirmed I intend on going back to the constituency to meet with the youth, the elders, the UDC and the business committee to discuss how we can help each other out. The outcome of my meetings with them will determine the objectives of my campaign heading towards the 2019 general elections,” Makhani revealed.