Saturday, January 23, 2021

BNF may change its candidates for Lobatse and Gaborone South

The Botswana National Front representation for the 2009 general election in the constituencies of Gaborone South and Lobatse could be altered, sources say.

If that happens, Tebogo Sebego and Otlaadisa Koosaletse would be declared BNF candidates and enter the general elections race.

The party is embroiled in a bitter dispute with the incumbents in both constituencies (Akanyang Magama in Gaborone South and Nehemiah Modubule in Lobatse) who are also seeking re-election.

Both have been suspended but in defiance of restrictions imposed on them, have been addressing political rallies in the party’s name.
Magama incurred the wrath of the party’s leadership after he criticised it publicly on numerous occasions.

Citing electoral irregularities, the party national appeals board has ordered a re-run of primary elections in his constituency but he responded by going to the High Court to maintain the status quo. The matter has yet to be disposed of but if he comes out smelling of roses, his political future in the safe BNF constituency would be secured.

If the opposite happens, he would be at the mercy of the central committee.
“He would most likely be fired because the rules prohibit members from taking the party to court,” a BNF source says.
Should it come to that Tebogo Sebego, with whom Magama ran against and beat earlier, would automatically become the party’s parliamentary candidate.

Modubule also faces fate no different from Magama’s. A protracted and still ongoing stand-off between Modubule and the party’s disciplinary committee is making it near impossible for his disciplinary hearing to be finalised.
However, after indicating that he would no longer appear before the committee, a verdict could soon be rendered. The verdict would be referred to the central committee which takes the final decision in such matters. Of late, the latter committee has not been merciful on those it perceives to be challenging its authority.

If Modubule is expelled, the primaries process in Lobatse could either be repeated and party members would have a choice between former constituency MP, Koosaletse and Solomon Diphoko. There is also the possibility, the source says, of Diphoko withdrawing and throwing his weight behind Koosaletse who, if elected, would serve one term and make way for Diphoko in 2014. Both men fell to Modubule during earlier primary elections.

Whatever way the drama pans out, party unity – which is so vital at so critical a stage in the electoral process – would suffer terribly. BNF woes come at a time when its main rival in both constituencies, the Botswana Democratic Party, is already done with the primaries process and is preparing for the general election.

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