Moatlhodi/Olopeng battle for Tonota South reignited
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana National Front (BNF) has finally put to an end the wrangle over Tonota South candidature after Maokaneng Bontshetse, who was initially the party candidate for the constituency reportedly agreed to pave way for the incumbent Member of Parliament, Pono Moatlhodi.
Since Moatlhodi joined the BNF from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the BNF has been in a dilemma as to who, between Moatlhodi who had been at the helm of the constituency for over a decade, and the youthful Bontshetse, should they put their money on in the constituency in the upcoming general elections.
The party leadership mandated the constituency committee to resolve the issue. The committee then recommended Moatlhodi as the preferred candidate. Bontshetse reportedly agreed to pave way for the veteran politician. His (Bontshetse) phone was off air when Northcast tried to seek confirmation from him.
Some of the speakers at the official launch of UDC parliamentary candidate for Tati West, Richard Gudu, including Gudu and Moatlhodi, revealed that the official launch of the latter is scheduled for early July. The party’s Secretary General, Tapiso Kgosikoma, its Information and Publicity Secretary Moeti Mohwasa and UDC Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi attended the launch.
Northcast has established that Bontshetse paved way upon realisation that Moatlhodi had made inroads more than him especially in settlements in the constituency.
According to a close source, Moatlhodi is well known in the area than Bontshetse because he made inroads during primary elections campaigns last year while still at the BDP. “What I can tell you is that Bontshetse has agreed to pave way for Moatlhodi even though it remains a secret but what we learnt is that he will be launched in July,” the source said.
Bontshetse was reportedly reluctant to step down because the party was not willing to compensate him for the expenses he incurred during his campaign. “It seems like he will be compensated, that is why he agreed,” the source said further.
BNF Tonota South constituency chairman, Jobe Matsuane was not in a position to divulge information; he said the matter was internal.
This development means that Moatlhodi’s battle with BDP’s Thapelo Olopeng for Tonota South has been reignited. There was a bitter rivalry between the duo when Moatlhodi was at the BDP. Olopeng beat him in the primary elections which he (Moatlhodi) then protested the disputed results but was unsuccessful. Moatlhodi then resigned from the party and joined the BNF. He will contest the 2014 general elections with the UDC token.