Saturday, September 19, 2020

BNF in lull before storm

Gabriel Kanjabanga says that he knows nothing about it but the latest out of the political rumour mill is that he is being considered as the Botswana National Front parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Central.

BNF sources say that although such consideration is being made, Kanjabanga has not yet been approached.
When and if such overtures are made, Kanjabanga is most likely to repeat what he told Sunday Standard: “I know nothing about that. What I can tell you is that if electoral regulations are followed, I am the BNF candidate in Gaborone North.”

That statement is loaded and portends another round of rowing. Two years ago, party veteran and chairperson of the national disciplinary committee, Lemogang Ntime, transferred his membership from Molepolole to Gaborone North with a view to running for its parliamentary seat. The constituency committee rejected Ntime’s application and thereafter was continually locked in non-comradely skirmishes with him. This stand-off made it impossible for the holding of primary elections and at a political rally held in the constituency in 2007, one committee member declared Kanjabanga the BNF candidate.

That is the view that Kanjabanga holds: that he is standing unopposed for the constituency because Ntime does not qualify to run. After an ugly altercation at a Ntime rally, Kanjabanga and some of his supporters were suspended from the party and they retaliated by lodging a case at the High Court. Behind-the-scenes talks between the two parties resulted in the withdrawal of the case and the lifting of the suspensions. One theory that attempts to explain this warming of relations is that the Gaborone Central constituency was at the centre of that deal. On the other hand, Kanjabanga denies that any such deal was ever made.
“I have never talked about that with anyone. There is no reason for me to do that because I consider myself the BNF candidate for Gaborone North,” he says.
The party’s deputy secretary general, Mokgweetsi Kgosipula, also disavowed knowledge of any deal that involves Gaborone Central.

“What I can tell you is that we are still searching for a candidate for the constituency,” says Kgosipula, adding that in the event they turn out more than one, an election will be held.
Gaborone Central finds itself without a candidate after Nelson Ramaotwana quit active politics to take up a job in the public service. The former Gaborone mayor and Village Ward councilor is now a lawyer at the Department of Public Prosecutions.

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