FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Congress Party’s (BCP) reported offer to Francistown West Member of Parliament (MP) Ignatius Moswaane who is now independent is likely to rekindle war between the former and the Botswana People’s Party (BPP).
Both parties are affiliated to the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Moswaane is strongly linked to the BCP. It has also in the recent past been speculated that Moswaane intends to join the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). But he is said to have made up his mind to join the BCP. The legislator confirmed that he has started talks with opposition parties with a view to joining one of them soon. The confirmation came moments after he ditched the ruling party.
Mmegi has established that in a bid to lure Moswaane , the BCP has reportedly promised him that he would be allowed to contest the 2024 general election under the UDC banner. It is said under the reported proposal Moswaane would not go through the primaries if his joins the BCP.
However, the stumbling block is that Francistown West constituency was allocated to the BPP under the coalition arrangement. The party contested the constituency (under the UDC) at the last general elections.
That is why many observers believe that the BCP’s proposal is likely to cause feuding within the UDC (particularly between the BPP and BCP). Already some within the BPP are said to be aware of the reported BCP proposal to Moswaane something that has irked them.
The BPP and BCP have in the past engaged in verbal wars over the Francistown West. For instance, towards last year’s general election the BCP members claimed that they were the right party to contest the wards in Francistown West at the general elections in the constituency. Some BCP members also wanted their party to contest the constituency despite the fact that it was allocated to the BPP.
The argument of the majority at BCP was that the BPP does not have any sound structures to contest all wards and a parliamentary seat in Francistown West. Then, BPP members accused the BCP of big brother mentality. The BPP was later allowed to contest the constituency and some wards despite the disapproval of some BCP diehards.
Yesterday, Moswaane denied the reported BCP offer. “I have contested the primaries most of my political life. I do not fear going through primaries. All I can say is that I am in talks with all opposition parties with the exception of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) and the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).”
Added Moswaane, “I can confirm that I will join the opposition. After joining any party in the opposition that is when we will work on a winning formula for the next general elections.” Mbaakanyi Lenyatso the BPP Vice President (VP) also weighed in on reports that the BCP had promised Moswaane that he would be allowed to contest the 2024 general elections in the constituency.
“ Francistown West is a BPP constituency. There is no party within the UDC that will contest the constituency unless there is approval from the BPP members,” he said.
He continued, “Fresh negotiations on constituencies and wards can only take place when a new party joins the UDC. Moswaane is well a groomed Pan-Africanist. As a Pan Africanist he knows that he should embrace peace at all times. Pan-Africanism is about unity. He should join the BPP if at all he wants to contest the 2024 general elections as well maintaining unity in the opposition coalition.” Dithapelo Keorapetse, BCP spokesperson would not be drawn into discussing reports that the party has assured Moswaane that he will contest the next general elections under the UDC banner without even going for primaries.
“We will never share our recruitment strategy with the public or the media. We are in the process of recruiting Moswaane and other BDP MPs. Sharing details about our recruitment strategy towards Moswaane can soil the ongoing talks,” he said. “For now, all UDC members should be celebrating that the coalition is being linked with a high profile politician like Moswaane,” he said.