The Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has cautioned its contracting partners in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) against jeopardising the 'coalition project' by concentrating on the constituencies each party has been allocated.
BMD secretary general, Gilbert Mangole warned that if parties within the UDC fight over constituencies, it would affect the UDC. Mangole was speaking at a BMD consultative meeting in Mogoditshane on Saturday. His remarks came after reports that two affiliates of the UDC, Botswana National Front (BNF) and BMD were fighting over Manyana/Moshupa constituency. The constituency was allocated to the BMD, but the party loaned it to the BNF in 2014 because they had no candidate.
However, it has emerged that the BMD wants to field Jonathan Sethono, a former deputy director at Ministry of Education, while some BNF members insist on Ngaka Monageng who contested in the area in 2014 to represent the UDC. He said each party has been allocated constituencies to win for the UDC in the 2019 general elections, and as such they should concentrate on what each has been allocated and leave those that are not theirs. “Parties in the umbrella have all been allocated constituencies.
Take care of what you have been allocated and campaign very hard to win those constituencies and leave that which is not yours to others. If yours starts showing interest for other parties’ constituencies, we will neglect yours and the UDC will suffer,” said Mangole. He further stated that his party has paid a heavy price for sacrificing its growth by concentrating
“We have paid a big price for sacrificing our growth for the UDC. We contributed hugely for the UDC success in 2014, but even after that when we thought we would be commended, we have been ridiculed and turned into a laughing stock despite our hard work for the UDC,” he said.
The issue of constituency allocation has been a hot potato for the UDC leadership for some time now and observers feel it is the one that can make or break the coalition.
He also said people should refrain from saying that the BMD has no candidates when it recruits from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) because that is where all opposition parties should get new members. Moreover, Mangole said there is peace within the BMD since its former president Ndaba Gaolathe and his faction left to form the Alliance for Progressives.
Still at the same meeting, the BMD welcomed new members including former BDP youth league committee members Bruce Nkgakile (treasurer general), Thabo Autlwetse (secretary general) and Lerala councillor, Kabo Ketsogile. Nkgakile has been earmarked to stand for Mogoditshane constituency in the next general elections after expressing his interest.
The party announced that it has registered over 1,500 new members whilst Nkgakile also said he comes along with 569 recruits from the BDP.