In February 2018, bilateral discussions between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) resumed in earnest. During the discussions, BCP proposed to trade off Nata Gweta for Maun West.
In principle, BMD was in agreement. However they preferred to trade off Maun West for Francistown West, which they will in turn give to Botswana People’s Party (BPP).
They further requested to be given time to consult their structures to which we agreed. In addition BMD wanted to consult Kgosi Tawana Moremi who is the incumbent Member of Parliament for Maun West under the BMD.
When we made a follow- up in March 2018, the BMD Secretary General, Gilbert Mangole informed us that the issue will be discussed at their next Working Committee meeting scheduled for Lerala, where they were also having a star rally to welcome Councillor Kabo Ketshogile from the Botswana Democratic Party. Mangole promised to give feedback after the Lerala meeting. When we followed up, we were told that consultations with Kgosi Moremi were still to be concluded.
When we parted at the last meeting, we were hoping that BMD will come back to us after consultations to say whether they agree to Nata/Gweta offer, or they table an alternative proposal for consideration in respect of Francistown West.
Unfortunately, due to delays in concluding this matter, circumstances in Francistown West have changed dramatically. We now
Mamela, who was the BCP candidate for Francistown South had to relocate to Francistown West after the constituency was allocated to BMD during the talks. Moving him out of Francistown West to give way to BMD again will be unfair on him after he previously sacrificed for the opposition project.
As for Hobona, there is a gender dimension to her case. A closer examination of potential candidates for Umbrella for Democracy Change (UDC) shows a bleak picture for women. The only hope was Francistown West. Otherwise the UDC agenda for gender equality will irretrievably suffer.
Contrary to assertions from some quarters that we have been disrespectful in dealing with BMD, our engagement with comrades was based on mutual respect.
The sensitivity of the matter under discussion is highly appreciated. The less we respond to Facebook commentators over this matter the better. As leaders we should be keeping our eyes on the ball. We must never get distracted by the noise out there.
*Kesitegile Gobotswang is the BCP vice president. He led the BCP delegation at the bilateral talks