Defector Kgari opens up

Baputhulodi Kgari
Baputhulodi Kgari

Baputhulodi Kgari, who was widely tipped to represent the Alliance for Progressives (AP) at the 2019 General Elections in Maun East, has finally opened up about his decision to leave the party.

Kgari quit the AP last Friday without advancing any reasons for his decision.He said that his decision to quit the party to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) was informed by the fact that he did not fancy his chances of winning the constituency under the AP ticket.

Kgari joined the AP from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) more than a year ago. 

In May he was officially unveiled as the AP parliamentary candidate for Maun East.

“I did my own assessment and found that I will not make a notable impact at the general elections under the AP. Had I contested the numbers I would have attracted would have been very low. After my assessment I ultimately decided to join the UDC because I believe all opposition parties share the same goal of unseating the ruling party from power.  I did not want to enter the election race just to add numbers.”

Added Kgari, “Aspirations of the AP and that of the UDC are also not that different. They want a better Botswana.  To be honest I have nothing against the AP”.  However, sources within the AP have said that there is more to Kgari’s abrupt resignation from the party than meets the eye.

Sources have indicated that Kgari quit the AP because he felt that the party did little to support his campaign with resources.

It is alleged that when Kgari acceded to a request to represent the party in Maun East he was under the impression that he will be backed with resources to campaign.

“There are 11 wards in Maun East.  The AP resolved that it would field councillors in eight of them. The challenge is that most of the councillors depended on him (Kgari) in their campaigns.  When he was about to leave the party he openly made it clear that he was struggling to help them as well as fund his own campaign.” 

“Kgari runs a thriving business, a bar.  He was worried that he was now spending a lot of money from his business to support his campaigns and that of other councillors.  He finally decided to quit when it increasingly became clear that he will not receive any campaign resources from the party,” one reputable insider in Maun East said.

Kgari disputed information from various sources that he decided to quit the party owing to lack of support in his campaign.

“I have a very good relationship with executive members of the AP and all party members in Maun East.  I quit the party for reasons I have already stated.  My conscience is clear as a result of the decision I have taken,” he said.

The secretary general of the AP Phenyo Butale told Mmegi that the party is not aware of reports that Kgari left owing to lack of support by the party.

“He did not state the reasons for leaving the party. It is well known that the opposition is not soundly resourced. However, as the AP we do share whatever meagre resources we have with our candidates for the general election and other party structures. 

At this point in time I cannot specifically say we at one point helped Kgari with resources or not,” Butale said yesterday.

The AP has conceded that it may have difficulty finding a replacement candidate for Maun East because the election date is very close.

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