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Saleshando divides BCP in Maun

Publishing Date : 07 January, 2019

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

The ‘contentious’ decision by Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership to allow party President Dumelang Saleshando to contest this year’s general elections at Maun West may bring the party more harm than the good, with observers already predicting a possible double trouble for the party in the October polls.


BCP in Maun has never been at peace since Saleshando showed interest to represent them at either of Maun constituencies especially Maun West, a traditional BDP stronghold which was won by Batawana paramount chief, Kgosi Tawana Moremi II  in the last general elections.
Initially the party top brass wanted Kekgonegile, who has been campaigning to contest (for a second time) in Maun East constituency for the upcoming 2019 general elections to make way for Saleshando and contest in Ngami constituency.


Kekgonegile however, according to sources, stood his ground and did not give in to that demand. This was before the party traded Francistown West for Maun West where Saleshando is currently a candidate. Agreeing to contest in the Ngamiland constituency for the politician who is still trying to resuscitate his political career would have been suicidal for Kekgonegile, his advisors say. The Ngamiland constituency is stretched and thus requires more resources than any other.


That notwithstanding BDP has proven to have a diminished grip in Ngamiland. Ngamiland remains one of the unpredictable constituencies for opposition. The BCP, it is said, was hoping that Kekgonegile would compromise for the sake of the party president and the party’s stability – “like it normally happens with other political formations”. Nevertheless, the maverick former trade unionist, it appears was resolute on facing BDP’s Konstantinos Markos to win the constituency in 2019.


Kekgonegile lost the constituency in 2014 to Markos; Kekgonegile had garnered 5303 votes against Markos’ 6046. Osimilwe Fish of the UDC was distant third with 2062 votes. With the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the BCP now working together, Kekgonegile was confident of victory this time around. This time around however the two are battling a similar war. BCP members who were on Kekgonegile’s side and had promised to vote him are now crossing over to Saleshando’s constituency.


“Members are now singing a similar song that helped Kgosi Tawana to win the constituency. Now they are saying they cannot sit down while their leader is contesting and therefore they should ensure he goes back to parliament,” said a source from the region. This has created animosity between the two comrades and already there is a suggestion for the party to call a five star rally or engage regional leaders on the matter lest it gets out of control.


“The meetings if at all materialise will be aimed at politically educating members to register at their respective constituencies because what is happening right now is tantamount to voter trafficking though it is not,” said another source. “There is nothing amiss on the part of candidates on because they are not luring voters to register at their constituencies. They are just exercising their rights which unfortunately or fortunately can have undesired consequences,” added the informant when asked if the party is not considering smoking the two candidates’ peace pipe.


This animosity has observers already predicting the worst for the party which wants to revive its fortune after partnering with UDC.  It is argued that Kekgonegile after working the constituency for so long then voters decide to vote elsewhere, he is likely to once again come second best to Markos who has been blessed with ministerial portfolio.


On the other side it is further said Saleshando despite most party members rallying behind him, the constituency is a BDP stronghold and facing off with a hardworking and moneyed Reaboka Mbulawa, it is not going to be an easy ride.  In short there is a belief that BCP might come empty handed in both constituencies. It is said Galaletsang Mhapha is likely to represent the BMD in Maun West after he was given blessings by Moremi. However Moalosi Sebati of Alliance for Progressives is also anticipated to enter the fray with the front runner Mbulawa also in the mix.

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