PALAPYE: Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) local government candidates in Serowe are worried for their future following talks of a possible Ian Khama-backed breakaway party.
They feel the party’s handling of former president has stirred a hornet nest in the village and since his May 4 meeting, there has been a growing uncertainty for their future after the October general elections.
At the meeting, Khama threatened to quit the BDP and reports have emerged that he is spearheading the formation of a breakaway party. The Serowe councillors expressed with gloom that the days of the ruling party’s total dominance in Gammangwato capital are edging to an end.
They said from their recent interactions with the constituents within the village, there was a steaming revolution against the party and the villagers were awaiting the moment when their paramount chief would lead them into a new political home. They noted that even the candidates who had openly admitted to defeats in the recent party primary elections were rising from the Bulela Ditswe graves and vouching to contest against them.
In the eight wards in Serowe north alone, one councillor noted that 12 independent candidates have shown interest to contest. He said he knows of three councillor aspirants at Motetshwane ward, two at Swaneng, Patikwane and Topisi each, and one each at Serule, Tshimoyapula and Tidimalo ward. Councillor Solomon Dikgang of Tidimane ward who is threatened by the situation, blames the tone used by the party leadership during the party presidential campaign. He said people of other allegiance were undermined with hushed tones. “We didn’t handle issues right. Now we are going to pay for it. The ground has tilted in Serowe and things look even uglier right now,” he said, noting that the build-up to elections has never been so uncertain in Serowe.
“But we will just go into the elections and whoever comes out victorious we will celebrate with them but I
Councillor Gaotilwe Omphile of Serowe West said they have not heard of any independent candidates (known as Mekoko) in their area. He said, however the ground is heated and the constituents are waiting to hear of their Kgosikgolo’s political destiny. Omphile said his constituents are threatening to even dump Khama’s brother Tshekedi Khama if he remains with the BDP and and follow their Kgosikgolo.
“Amidst all these, they want to know our position and Tshekedi Khama’s position. They are threatening to dump us and follow Khama. We are standing with the party ticket and we don’t know what is going to happen, but the biggest damage would be with the parliamentary candidates if indeed Khama would quit the BDP,” he said.
The sitting councillor for Manonnye ward, Lesedi Leapetswe has hinted on contesting. Leapetswe had admitted to defeat after a re-run at his ward.
“There has been a lot of talk of people wanting to follow (Ian) Khama following his recent meeting. The ground is open and there is an opportunity for those who wish to contest if indeed Khama would leave BDP,” he said.
Quizzed on whether it is true he also wish to contest, he hinted, “I have given it a thought but I don’t have resources. If I had resources it would be easier to make up my mind.”