The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front (BNF) have reportedly taken a backseat in the Moshupa/Manyana constituency by-election campaigns.
The by-election, called following the ascendance to president by the former Member of Parliament, Mokgweetsi Masisi two months ago, will be in just over a week’s time on June 16. The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) member, Jonathan Sethono is the coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) representative in the by- election while the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has fielded Karabo Gare.
According to insiders, the two coalition partners; BNF and BCP are not actively involved in the campaign to snatch the constituency from the BDP. The BMD, which is clearly panicking, has revealed that they have written letters to the two coalition partners’ leadership to ask their members, especially those in Moshupa to help in the campaigns but there has not been any positive response from the BCP and BNF.
The three parties, together with the Botswana People’s Party, are opposition coalition members of the UDC.
The snub has led to the BMD requesting the UDC president, who is also the BNF leader, Duma Boko to intervene on the matter. The UDC is left with few days to put their house in order. Already, the BDP is ahead in the campaigns and is poised to thump the other party with a big margin. These may be just desserts for the BMD, which had forcefully fielded their candidate amidst remonstrations by the BNF and BCP that the former had no structures on the ground. The duo (BNF and BCP) had constitutionally appealed for the BNF candidate who stood in 2014, Ngaka Monageng, but the BMD would have none of it.
“We are very worried that BCP/BNF members in Moshupa are not participating in by-election campaigns. Our party has written to both parties three times. Last week we wrote to them pleading with them to persuade their members to participate in our campaigns, but we have not received any response from them. “The only members who are participating for both parties are the ones at Ralekgetho and Lotlhakane West. This is not fair to BMD because we do help other affiliates when their parties are contesting in by-elections,” BMD national organising secretary, Freddy Ramodise said. He added that some BNF members in Moshupa have requested BMD president, Sidney Pilane to come and talk to them at their homes, which he is expected to have done on Wednesday.
Ramodise said they had also received information that some BNF leaders have secretly told their members in Moshupa not to participate in the
Ramodise said the party has requested Pilane to have a meeting with Boko about the matter. He said they are expecting Boko to address the UDC members at Moshupa this week.
Ramodise said they have asked both the BNF and BCP to furnish them with names of leaders who will speak at the launch of their candidate tomorrow, but the parties have not sent any name. He said they would be having a meeting with one BCP councillor at Moshupa and BMD secretary general Gilbert Mangole to request the councillor to give them support for the campaigns. The BCP’s bone of contention is that the BMD leadership did not help the party at the recent Moselewapula ward by-election in the Francistown West constituency.
The BCP won the ward against all odds. The BCP is also unhappy that the BMD leader once claimed the party did not help whatsoever at the University of Botswana (UB) elections for Student Representative Council. This was despite the fact that the Selebi-Phikwe MP, Dithapelo Keorapetse was deployed by the BCP to help with the campaign.
However on Monday, Boko told the media that the issue at Moshupa/Manyana has been resolved amicably as he had spoken to his members in that area when they came to see him about their complaints. On the other hand, BNF secretary general, Moeti Mohwasa said they have not received any letter from the BMD. “We cannot address another affiliate’s complaint through the media. I hope if there is any issue, it will be tabled or channelled to UDC so that it is resolved quickly,” he said.
Moeti’s BCP counterpart, Phillip Monowe said they are not aware that their members are not active at the campaigns for Moshupa/ Manyana and the BMD has not written any letter of complaint to them.
“There is a laid down procedure at UDC, therefore I cannot discuss any issue affecting one of the UDC affiliate with the media,” Monowe said.