BDP Francistown region snubs Masisi

Majority of Francistown region BDP activists stayed away when Mokgweetsi Masisi came to solicit for their support
Majority of Francistown region BDP activists stayed away when Mokgweetsi Masisi came to solicit for their support

FRANCISTOWN: Vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi has been enjoying the command of the Francistown region but things took a nasty turn during his Tuesday visit.

Francistown region has been openly declared pro-Masisi but Tuesday this week, things seemingly fell apart under his nose.

Upon his arrival at the Francistown airport, Masisi who was acting President and enjoyed full presidential escort, got the shock of his life when he realised that there were only about 10 or less people loitering in frustration outside the Leseding Hall, the venue of the Tuesday indoor campaign meeting for team Masisi.

In frustration, his delegation was led to the Marang Hotel for tea at 10 am whilst the Francistown region leadership moved around pleading with BDP diehards especially the delegates to the July Mmadinare elective congress to come and meet the VP.

“It was a mess. Imagine a whole acting President having to be moved around to meet an empty hall,” decried one of the delegates who spoke to Mmegi on condition of anonymity.

The source blamed the organisers of the VP’s visit Baemedi Medupe and Otto Masogo for the poor organisation of the meeting, as it was not widely announced. Even when Masisi was finally ushered into the meeting after over two hours of waiting, the situation was not better at all.

Not all the delegates attended the meeting as the majority of them deliberately snubbed the VP preferring to simply stay away.

BDP Francistown region consists of Francistown West, South, East, Tonota and Tati East constituencies.

Conspicuous in his absence was Francistown West MP, Ignatius Moswaane and his delegates. This is despite the fact that the maverick MP and his delegates were invited to give VP Masisi support ahead of the elective congress. Apparently, it’s an open secret that Moswaane and his constituency prefer Ramadeluka Seretse for the party chairperson. In fact the director of ceremonies reportedly announced that Moswaane made it clear that he would not be part of the meeting.

Moswaane yesterday insisted he did not snub the meeting. “As protocol dictates when the VP is in my area I should attend the meeting. However, I was not invited for the meeting that is why I did not go. I felt that since it was a campaign meeting and I belonged to a rival camp maybe the organisers thought it was not prudent to invite me,” he said.  So, from Francistown West, it was only Otto Masogo who was a delegate to the congress while the rest, although  from the same constituency, were just observers.

Tati East was reportedly shaky as not all the delegates attended the VP’s meeting. As for this constituency, there are apparently issues emanating from the fact that the area MP Samson Guma Moyo has not been allowed to play a leading role in the pro-Masisi team as he had wished.

The constituents have now started dragging their feet in support of their legislator hence, not all of them attended Masisi’s last campaign meeting. Tonota constituency did not fare any better, as not all the people who attended the Tuesday meeting were delegates. To make good numbers to the meeting, they had to pick anyone who was willing to attend, regardless of whether they were delegates or not. Equally in Francistown South, Khumongwana Maoto and Andy Boatile tried hard to mobilise delegates, however for the Tuesday meeting it was not possible to get 10 eligible delegates hence they ended up mixed up with ineligible members.

Francistown East constituency led by its MP Buti Billy was the best in terms of numbers of eligible delegates, they had nine at the meeting. But, worriedly, some of the delegates were far from endorsing the VP as they had their own people, as we gathered from our interactions with them. When given a chance to speak, Masisi pleaded with the BDP Francistown region to vote for him in the impending July elective congress. Speaking during an indoor meeting Tuesday Masisi did not want to leave anything to chance but to ensure that the Francistown region was on his side. He told the meeting that he came all the way from Gaborone to remind the region that he was in the race and needed their vote.

“I came here to remind you to vote for me at the Mmadinare elective congress as the party chairperson,” Masisi pleaded. A non-Masisi supporter, Moses Serumola told the meeting that he was not going to endorse Masisi because he was not his ideal candidate for chairperson. This came after he was asked to explain whom he supported for the position of chairperson.

Efforts to get a comment from Masisi’s campaign manager, Ishmael Legwaila did not bear fruit, as he was not picking his mobile phone.

The meeting organiser, Medupe told Mmegi that politics is a voluntary game and it was not always guaranteed that when you call people for a meeting they would simply come in large numbers. “It sometimes depends on how people feel and that will determine their response to a call for a meeting,” he said, also justifying the low turn-out to the fact that being mid-week, some members could not make it as they were at work. “Look, the meeting could have been delayed but there was no way we could have started before the delegates actually arrived,” he explained insisting that those who attended the meeting endorsed the VP for the chairperson.

BDP Francistown region chairman Sabelo Matikiti confirmed yesterday that he could not attend the meeting. He however, doubted that the poor attendance was a snub to Masisi.

“Far from it (snubbing him). I don’t think they really snubbed him in anyway,” Matikiti refuted. His theory was that as Masisi was visiting the Francistown region for the second time, it was possible that already people could have made their decisions on whom to vote for the position of chairman, “possibly in the VP’s favour.”

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