The emerging BPF Central region

PALAPYE: Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) could throw spanners in the works of other parties in the Central region particularly in the Palapye constituency.

BPF’s Central region is made up of the Palapye constituency and the three Serowe constituencies that are Serowe South, Serowe North and Serowe West. The party has embarked on the structure set up in the entire country.  In the region, the party pronounced they have completed setting up the structures in the four constituencies. Over the weekend they would be electing the regional structure in Serowe.  The region would be hosting the party congress on August 3, 2019 in Palapye.

In the Palapye constituencies, the wards have submitted names of the councillors that would represent them.   The parliamentary candidate is still outstanding.  Two sitting councillors, Lesego Setlhare and Area Gabathusi would be contesting in their respective Lotsane/Thomadithotse and Boikago/Madiba wards respectively. Other candidates include Dineo Tumotumo for Mmaphula West, Pelotlhomogi Ntebang for Mmaphula East, Kelathegile Gontse at Khurumela, and Gagoope Kelesitse at Mmalekokopu.

The constituency chairperson Lawrence Bodilenyane confirmed the structures and said they were ready to introduce the structures to the party national executive committee come the congress. Quizzed whether they would field a parliamentary candidate in the constituency, he said, “We have not decided yet, but that matter is under discussion.”

Bodilenyane said the whole team that would be contesting the constituency would be launched in a rally that would follow after the congress.

“If by then we would have nominated somebody (parliamentary candidate) then they would also be launched.”

He said the electorates had been cooperative.  “People understand what we are about. They have worked with us to ensure our structures are set up smoothly. We are ready to deliver to the party leadership,” he said. According to an insider, the BPF would be supporting the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate Onneetse Ramogapi as per the wishes of the leadership.

The BPF leadership and its patron Ian Khama have openly preached supporting the UDC in some regions and the source said Palapye is one of the constituencies earmarked in that regard.

The source, however, said there would be demands if they are to support the UDC, but that is likely to ruffle feathers at the local government level. The source further revealed that the party would only support Ramogapi if the UDC gives up five wards for them to field their councillors.

That nevertheless would be decided at the impending congress if the UDC does not bend. The source further highlighted that there was an individual that is highly revered in the village that the party is eyeing for the parliamentary position.

It is, however, highly unlikely that the UDC might give in to the demands of the BPF at some of the wards in question that include Boikago/Madiba and Mmaphula East. The wards were subjects of battles after the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) primary elections. The two wards saw two BCP stalwarts Gabathusi and Tumotumo lose primary elections and bitterly quit the party after they felt they were allegedly treated unjustly.

Gabathusi who wrestled Boikago/Madiba from a dominant BDP at the time, felt the party should have not allowed primary elections in the ward. He felt his former party owed that to him. Tumotumo argued there was trafficking in the ward and the elections were not clean. He took the matter up directly with the executive though he was not successful eventually.

“We don’t know how these two wards in particular would be resolved. There is likely to be confusion with others as well,” the source said.  Bodilenyane, who is also the chairperson of the local organising committee, could not be drawn into matters that involve other parties. He said he was focused on his party, his constituency and preparations for the regional constituency and the congress they would be hosting.

He revealed that there had been mass registrations from the BDP in the village from the few meetings they held and he anticipates a massive congress on August 3.

“The party is alive in Palapye. The numbers are too high, we have over 5,000 people registered already and waiting for their memberships,” he said.  “We believe we are doing well and we anticipate a huge turnout at the congress. We are in the right direction, we are receiving the help we need from people,” the chairperson added.

In Serowe, the chairperson for the Serowe South constituency Keoagile Sebenyane confirmed they have also completed their structures.

“We have people that showed interest in contesting for Parliament and Council positions, but we have referred them to the party executive,” he said. Adding, “Here we are committed to setting up and completing all the structures. We are preparing to sort out the regional structure and then we can focus on other things”.

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