The Botswana Democratic Party (BCP) has finally resolved to conduct fresh primary elections to nominate its candidate in the Francistown West constituency in preparation for the upcoming general election.
The decision was taken after the party failed to field its candidate, Ignatius Moswaane, to contest the Francistown West by-election which was held at the weekend. BDP was barred from contesting following a court order which was instituted by its primary election loser, Whyte Marobela last year.
Only two parties, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) represented by Dr Habaudi Hobona, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) represented by ShathisoTambula and two independent candidates, Kago Phofuetsile and Joseph Mabutho participated in the weekend poll.
The elections were won by Dr Hubona who garnered 966 votes against Tambula’s 578 votes. Two independent candidates, Mabutho and Phofuetsile garnered 157 and 117 votes respectively.
In an interview with The Telegraph BDP secretary general, MphoBalopi, confirmed the party took a decision to call fresh primary elections as it had failed to field a candidate in the controversy-ridden Francistown West by-election.
“We have decided to call fresh BDP primary elections in Francistown West constituency on a date to be announced because we failed to field a candidate in the by-election. The decision was taken after thorough consultations with all the structures in the party and the constituents. We will convene on the 3rd of February to decide the date,” he said.
Although the Francistown West constituents had earlier on called for a re-run of the primary election during a meeting with Vice President and party chairman Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Balopi explained that the decision was taken in accordance with the BDP constitution.
“BDP members in Francistown West constituency wanted a re-run of the primary election because they still want Moswaane to be their candidate. According to our party constitution, a re-run can only be done if there is an irregularity during the voting process, such as what happened in the Serowe North East constituency. We believe that there were no irregularities during the Francistown West constituency BDP primaries. We believe that if we order a re-run we will be trying too much to impress the voters,” he said.
Moswaane’s sympathisers are however disappointed by the Central Committee’s decision to call fresh primaries as this will disadvantage their man.
“Moswaane is disappointed by the decision of the Central Committee to call for fresh primaries as this will disadvantage him.
There is obviously going to be fresh vetting of interested contestants. He believes that there is no clear law within the BDP constitution which influenced the Central Committee’s decision to order fresh elections. He is also of the view that there was no proper consultation to reach such a decision,” said a source.
“Reached for comment, Moswaane referred all the questions to the Central Committee.
Two BDP politicians, Peter Ngoma and Raoboy Mpuang, have already declared their interest to contest the fresh BDP primaries in Francistown West constituency.