Following the death of the MP for the Letlhakeng West constituency, Maxwell Motowane, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is ramping up its campaign.
The ruling party has fielded Ngaka Ngaka following his defeat of Sugar Baeletsi and Tsheboagae during the primary elections.
Just at a time when the BDP was gearing up for what promises to be a gruelling encounter, cracks have started emerging.
The aftermath of the party’s bulela ditswe is said to be at the centre of the controversial resistance from others within the party.
The Sunday Standard is reliably informed that those calling for Ngaka’s head accuse his campaign team of ‘borrowing’ members from opposing parties to get past the primary elections.
Ngaka polled the highest number of votes from Sesung, Maboane and Ditshegwane. His colleagues are complaining about these numbers.
“How do you explain the fact that he is the only candidate among the three that polled the highest number of votes? Generally our party members are reluctant to take part in primary elections,” says a member of one of the teams that lost during the primaries.
He added that they were shocked to hear from opposition members that they helped Ngaka win because he is an easy target.
In their assessment, it was always going to be very difficult for the Botswana National Front (BNF) to make inroads in areas like Dutlwe and Motokwe where the other two aspiring candidates came from, considering that the BDP has sitting councillors in those two villages.
“We could have done the same for our candidate who comes from a strong BNF family but the bottom line is what was going to happen during the by-elections when they are back at their party?” he asked, preferring to remain unnamed.
In one of their rallies held in Ditshegwane, commonly known as Bagdad, BNF operatives carried around BDP membership cards they planned to display at their upcoming rallies to drive their point home.
“Ditshegwane and Sesung are in the hands of the BNF and our members were recruited by BDP members who promised them cash in exchange of votes. They have since brought a number of BDP membership cards which we are still collecting,” said a youthful BNF member who identified himself as Komelelo Borai.
Expressing regret that some BNF members could be lured by cash, Borai said that it nevertheless shows that BDP has been doling out cash to desperate cadres from other parties.
This latest BDP squabble has seen supporters of those who lost in the primary elections cooling off.
“We are proud of our camp because we ran a very clean campaign but for some of our colleagues to let the BNF infiltrate us is greatly regrettable and we are even shocked by revelations that some councillors were involved in these dirty tricks,” said a supporter of Tsheboeng.
Although the Ngaka-led campaign has called their win a clean sweep, unconfirmed reports are that the losers are planning to return the favour by voting for the BNF in protest, especially in areas like Motokwe, Tsetseng, Khekhenye and Dutlwe ÔÇô areas in which Ngaka is still to find his footing.
Since voting during primary elections was staggered in village blocks, Ngaka’s chances in the other villages can only be increased by the support he expects from his other colleagues. Coincidentally, the BNF started their campaign from the affected areas as a way of winning the disgruntled BDP members before reconciliatory efforts by the leadership.
The BDP on the other hand are trying hard to penetrate the BNF stronghold like Ditshegwane and Maboane where the latter recently won the council by-election.
During the launch of their parliamentary hopeful last week, the constituency chairman, Danger Kgogwane, pleaded with the country’s vice president, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, to assist them with resources for areas such as Maboane and Ditshegwane where the opposition BNF is intact.