Mmegi Online :: BMD gives BDP torrid time in F/town
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Last Updated
Friday 15 December 2017, 17:56 pm.
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BMD gives BDP torrid time in F/town

FRANCISTOWN: The recently formed Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) splinter group Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) seems to be giving the BDP a tough time in Francistown.
By RYDER GABATHUSE
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BMD gives BDP torrid time in F/town








Hardly a month after President Ian Khama and his Cabinet ministers and other top BDP leaders visited the northern city, the President and his entourage are this time around expected to throng the Francistown City Council (FCC) chambers for "official business" next Tuesday.

Initially, Khama and his team were billed to address the council meeting on June 25 but the trip has since been fast-tracked to next week.

This move by Khama and his Cabinet has naturally set tongues wagging in some quarters with some politicians suggesting that the BDP "desperately needs to close the gulf created by the BMD formation".

Some even feel that Khama and his Cabinet might be out to "intimidate" civic leaders previously associated with the Barata-Phathi faction as a coalition of BMD and other opposition party councillors might give them an edge over the BDP across the country.

Khama's visit, which is going to be taken to all the local authorities across the country ultimately, is seen as a last ditch effort to control possible damage caused by the split of the ruling party since Botswana attained independence over 40 years ago.

Bringing the entire Cabinet and senior government officials to Francistown is also viewed as a grand plan by Khama to parade the strength of his government to the ordinary people. This move could also win the hearts and souls of the locals who have never seen Khama and his whole Cabinet in Francistown before. 

Francistown is one of the BMD's strongholds, so it goes without saying that the BMD is definitely giving the ruling party leadership a torrid time.

It is therefore not surprising for Khama and his government to be worried about prospects of losing about three constituencies. Both Francistown South and West were loyal to the Barata-Phathi faction of the BDP, which has since morphed into a political party. Although the East has been known as the A-Team stronghold, in the previous general elections the opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) nearly unseated the ruling party by lifting four of the six council wards with the area MP, Phandu Skelemani winning by less than 600 votes. Given the history of this area, the BDP has every reason to be worried, as the party's influence here, has been waning.

BCP councillor Ephraim Maiketso says," It seems Khama and his Cabinet are coming here to battle for the retention of the FCC whose leadership has already changed hands."

He added that Khama and his team are only abusing the official platform to try and appease the electorate. "Things are very tough for the BDP here since they lost the control of the FCC to the new BMD. The BDP is seemingly bent on using anything and everything at their

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disposal to gain control."

Maiketso indicated that the opposition is going to be united more than ever in an endeavour to ensure that the council remains in opposition control. He however, confirmed that about a fortnight ago, Francistown councillors were called to Mayor Shadreck Nyeku's office, "where he appealed to us to list issues that we wished to be conveyed to Cabinet". He is now waiting to see if Khama and his team will live up to expectations.

For independent councillor, Ignatius Moswaane, Khama's visit will only have a meaning if councillors are allowed to articulate issues bedevilling their wards.

"It will defeat the purpose of the visit if we will be prevented from saying what we view as the concerns of the people we represent," he said.

Nyeku is not worried by the Tuesday meeting as to whether the BDP will use the big stage to launch their campaigns."Since we met a fortnight ago and discussed pertinent issues that we are going to raise with the Cabinet, I take it that the meeting will be all about that and nothing else," said Nyeku.

He stated that he was hopeful that the Cabinet would live up to its promise, and "if they choose to deviate and launch their campaigns then anyone could use the same platform as it is not open to the ruling party only."Officially, Khama and his Cabinet will be here next Tuesday to address the FCC week-long full council meeting, which starts next Monday.

FCC senior public relations officer, Priscilla Gulubane-Simula told Mmegi about the President's visit: " What we know is that the President and his Cabinet are coming here to address the full council meeting. Councils, including the FCC were asked to identify key policy and strategic issues that they could raise with the Cabinet," she told Mmegi yesterday.

BDP executive secretary, Dr Comma Serema sees a good opportunity for President Khama and his entourage to score political points in their Tuesday visit.

"We hope that his (President) visit to Francistown could bring a sense of stability to the Francistown civic leaders.If the FCC is stable, then it will be able to deliver to the Francistowners," observed Serema.

He emphasised that what the party wants is stability so that it can deliver its mandate. "If councillors fight incessantly, then it means that could frustrate delivery. That is the last thing we want for the people of Francistown. Our policies and programmes are geared towards giving people hope and we want them to benefit like in all other areas."

Serema added that as a ruling party, the President's visit will provide the missing link and that is stabilising the FCC to resume the role of providing services to the people.

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Selefu
And that comrades is the BMD strategy. Any questions Media! Where the hell are they
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