Bophirima ward was never allocated to BCP


The Botswana National Front (BNF) has noted misleading and malicious media and public statements from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) central committee and its youth league.

The BNF has been implicated in the unfortunate statements and therefore would like to set the record straight as per below:

1). After the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) was expelled from the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), the members who had won primary elections and were to represent BMD in the 2019 general election; the incumbent Members of Parliament (MP) and councillors then, were all given a special dispensation to join and represent the UDC in the 2019 general elections and a deadline set. Mankie Sekete, who was to represent Bophirima ward, used this window and further joined the BNF. The other BMD members who took advantage of the dispensation included Molepolole South MP, Tlamelo Mmatli (BNF); Gaborone Bonnington North Diphetogo ward councillor Tshepo Moloko (BNF), Tiroeaone Ntsima, Francistown South (BCP) and Kabo Ketshogile (Lerala-Maunatlala - BNF). This is a fact and the BCP’s claims about Peter Mogapi being allocated Bophirima ward are totally untrue and misleading.

2). A letter that has been circulated and signed by Dumelang Saleshando is not genuine. The UDC never issued it and there are no records of proceedings that culminated into that. The said letter was not even delivered to the UDC Gaborone Bonnington South structure, which is the addressee. Taking a cue, the BCP youth league’s undated statement circulated on 9th March 2022 is also untrue as it claims that the joint opposition presidents of UDC, AP and BPF allocated the Bophirima ward to the BCP. The BCP youth are deliberately misleading the public as the opposition presidents allocated the ward to the UDC not the BCP. The BCP is, however, at liberty to negotiate for it for the 2024 general election and not before the lapse of the 2019 electoral cycle and a standing UDC resolution.

3). It should also be noted that the BCP also caused a full blown out confusion in the recent Mogoditshane Ledumadumane East ward by-election. The BNF managed this ward in 2019 on behalf of the UDC represented by Simon Oupa Moipolai. Out of the blue the BCP started posting their candidate on social media, conducted nocturnal house-to-house campaigns and attempted to wrestle the ward from the BNF. We want to put it on record that the BNF will not embarrass or undermine its co-affiliates in any ward or constituency they manage should there be a by-election.

4). In the recent December 2021 council by-elections, the BNF comradely and in gesture of goodwill asked the BCP to field a candidate for the Ga-Molopo ward in the Goodhope-Mabule constituency, despite the fact that the ward belongs to the BNF. Unfortunately, it seems the BCP has not appreciated this, and continues to bully and undermine the BNF. In the North West District, the BCP is also managing two wards for the BNF. The BNF has never enjoyed same favours from the BCP but dirty overtures.

5). The UDC National Executive Committee met on the 29th January 2022 at Ave Maria Centre in Gaborone and they passed a resolution to the effect that the 2019 electoral state of affairs remain the same in all by-elections and this effectively means that Sekete stands at Bophirima ward. This resolution was proposed by Prof Phillip Bulawa of the BPP and was seconded by Kealeboga Oral Mosedame of BCP. Professor Mpho Pheko’s latest undated statement is therefore grossly incorrect and deliberately misleading to say the UDC has never met. Pheko further claims that the UDC last met in July 2021 in Palapye and repeats this in a voice note and the BCP leadership at UDC NEC keeps quiet. She acted without facts, devoid of feedback from her colleagues who are part of UDC NEC representing the BCP. The media and the public have been deliberately fed these untruths and therefore it is important and relevant to provide clarification lest our silence is interpreted to mean that such statements are correct.

6). The BNF is still committed to a united opposition and will not stoop low to undermine any party. We are comradely and objective in our engagement with contracting parties. An independent candidate at Bophirima ward will not surprise us as the BCP has done this to other opposition parties several times before and in some instances causing the opposition candidate to lose elections.

7). The BNF calls upon the public to remain unshaken, the opposition to be focused on building a strong united opposition to take power in 2024 for the benefit of Batswana.

8. We once more ask Bophirima voters to vote Sekete of UDC in large numbers, who does not only have council experience, but also a testimony that women are capable in leadership.

JUSTIN HUNYEPA* is Botswana National Front publicity secretary.

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