FRANCISTOWN: Gripped by hopelessness and despair after the party recently ‘dumped’ them in the Francistown-West constituency in a controversial constituency swap, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) operatives could be back in the political game.
The BCP leadership recently dropped a political bombshell in the Francistown-West constituency informing its members in haste to halt their campaigns in the area and pave way for its partner, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). These were during good times.
With tension at high level within the opposition block of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), between the BMD and BCP especially, talk has shifted to the constituency that it can still be up for contest, by the BCP.
Earlier, in this controversial decision, the BCP cadres in the Francistown-West constituency found themselves at loggerheads with their leadership whom they accused of paving the way for the party president, Dumelang Saleshando who found himself without a parliamentary seat to contest in the 2019 general election.
On one hand, the BCP leadership claimed to have consulted extensively, whilst the political victims of the party move claimed the decision was imposed upon them.
The BCP leadership had initially wanted to trade off the Nata-Gweta constituency, but the BMD in cahoots with its close partner, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) knowing that Saleshando was desperate for Maun-West, shifted to Francistown-West.
Now, with the relations that have soured after the recent Pilane/Saleshando spat, BCP’s Francistown-West team led mainly by the party’s veteran politician, Vain Mamela could be granted their wish to contest in the constituency.
Quizzed about the situation recently, Mamela was reluctant to comment as he said the matter was in the hands
Before the BPP came up with its council candidates, there was a suggestion that Mamela who had been campaigning, as a parliamentary candidate should shift to become a council candidate.
This move was viewed by some as an insult to Mamela given his credentials.
The see-saw decisions in Francistown-West before the informed constituents could cost the BCP and its UDC partners in their endeavours to win the constituency in 2019.
There is a glimmer of hope however, that with the BCP/BMD fall out, and the BCP could be allowed to try its luck in a constituency that the party has hope for victory.
Recapping on the party’s constituencies’ swap BCP president Saleshando said: “if you recall, we wanted Maun-West constituency in return for Nata-Gweta constituency and they (BMD) came back seeking Francistown-West.
The BMD didn’t seem to need Francistown-West as they immediately gave it to their partner BPP.”
Saleshando conceded this week that there are a number of issues in his hands requiring UDC attention.
“There is a need to meet as the UDC leadership first as there are a good number of issues on the table that need the attention of the UDC leadership and that will help us chart the way forward,” he said, without shedding more light on the problematic relationship.
He was reluctant to indicate as to whether the Francistown-West constituency is open for the BCP interested parties to continue campaigning.