FRANCISTOWN: In a move that may threaten the unity of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), the party executive has reportedly resolved to give the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) the Francistown West constituency. This is in exchange for the Maun West constituency, Mmegi has established.
The development now means that BCP president Dumelang Saleshando will contest the next general elections in Maun West. It is an open secret that for months, the BCP has been looking for a suitable constituency where it will field Saleshando at the 2019 general elections. Initially, the BCP had proposed that it be given Maun West in exchange of Nata-Gweta. The BMD declined the offer from their Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) partners. The BMD intends to give Francistown West to the Botswana People’s Party (BPP) who are also part of the UDC coalition.
The decision may come as a shock to many political pundits and BCP members for one simple reason; the party recently stated that it is not willing to trade off the Francistown West constituency to the BMD. Mmegi has established that the decision to give Francistown West to BMD was taken during a BCP executive committee meeting held last week.
“The BCP central committee will be officially informed about the latest development next month. The BCP central committee is meeting on the 12th of May if I am not mistaken. Ordinary party members will also be officially informed next month probably after the central committee meeting,” a reputable insider at BCP told Mmegi yesterday.
The BCP has also informally notified the BMD that it will be will be given Francistown West according to insiders within the two parties. The decision of the BCP executive is likely to cause ill-feelings amongst BCP diehards most particularly in Francistown West. Indications are that BCP firebrand Vain Mamela, Chimbise Chimbise and another person whose initials have already submitted applications to contest the party primaries in Francistown West. Already, some BCP members in Francistown West are also said to be aware of the recent stance by the party. It has emerged that they are not happy about the BCP
He said that he has learnt informally from close party colleagues that the BMD will be given the Francistown West constituency. “Giving away Francistown West will be a very sad development for BCP members in the constituency. It has taken a lot of hard work for the BCP to build strong structures in Francistown West. Giving away the constituency is a huge setback with respect to growing the party in Francistown. It is also not logical to give such a stable and strong constituency to the BMD. “What is more painful is that the party we are giving Francistown West to does not have sound structures in the constituency. I will really be disappointed if the BCP gives away Francistown West,” he said. Although he denies it, BPP president Motlatsi Molapise has been earmarked to contest Francistown West at the next general elections. In recent months, the BPP and the BMD have appeared cosy in public.
In response to the circulating information, BCP spokesperson Dithapelo Keorapetse said, “I can confirm that the BMD has written to the BCP proposing that they be given Francistown West in exchange of Maun West. We are still discussing their proposal with relevant party structures. At the moment there is nothing much to share with the media”.