Thursday, September 24, 2020

DK-Khama standoff reignites factional disputes in F/ town South

The raging inferno between President Ian Khama and the A-team on the one hand and party chairman Daniel Kwelagobe and the barata phathi on the other hand has reportedly spilled over to the volatile Francistown South constituency where primary election losers have reportedly written to the central committee asking for parliamentary candidate Wynter Mmolotsi to be recalled.

Information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that bulela-ditswe primary election losers, Khumongwana Maoto and Godknows Robi, last week wrote a letter to the central committee demanding that Wynter Mmolotsi’s candidacy for the Francistown South constituency be rescinded as he is a volatile and divisive leader whose actions continue to tear the constituency asunder.

The two are also quoted as saying that Mmolotsi has, since humbling them during the August 2008 bulela-ditswe primary elections, snubbed them and sidelined them from party activities in the constituency.

The move comes after BDP Secretary General and A-team head honcho, Jacob Nkate, visited Francistown last week to officially open the BDP regional offices. Reports indicate that Nkate later hosted a high profile A-team meeting at Tati River Lodge where he lobbied the attendants to step up their campaign for the A-team candidates and work hard to ensure that President Khama’s preferred candidates sail through at the BDP’s Kanye congress next week.

Barata-Phathi sympathizers have come out with guns blazing saying that Mmolotsi’s recall, which they say was hatched at Nkate’s meeting, is just a desperate attempt by the A-team to destabilize the barata-phathi, who are said to be firmly established in the Francistown region, ahead of the BDP congress.

BDP Executive Secretary, Comma Serema, on Friday confirmed that they are in possession of the letter but could not elaborate further as the matter is still under investigation. He also confirmed that the central committee received the letter on Monday and that he and BOMASE (Bobirwa-Mmadinare-Selibe Phikwe) regional chairman Nathaniel Moribame have been detailed to conduct investigations at the beleaguered Francistown South constituency. He, however, could not divulge the authors and the contents of the letter save to say that they will be conducting investigations in Francistown over the weekend.

“We will be in Francistown on Sunday to investigate the allegations leveled by the complainants,” he said.

Reports reaching The Sunday Standard, however, indicate that Maoto and Robi’s efforts have hit a snag as the central committee has thrown their request out the window because the October elections are too near. Serema and Moribame’s visit will therefore just be a formality aimed at restoring calm and peace within the constituency.

It is not the first time that Mmolotsi has found himself backed against the wall because of attacks from Maoto and Robi.

Early last year, he found his political star rapidly waning after the Central Committee vetted him from contesting the party primaries, in the process vetting in a relatively unknown Bahadzisi Maripe to contest against the incumbent Maoto.

Between himself and Maripe and Robby, Mmolotsi was widely considered the man to give Maoto a run for his money, especially as the latter had beaten him by a paltry 43 votes in the 2003 primaries.

Emotions ran high at the time with Mmolotsi supporters reading ulterior motives into their candidate’s vetting out. Mmolotsi is popularly known as a Barata Phathi man and his supporters felt that the central committee was setting the stage for Maoto, an A-team sympathizer, to retain his constituency. The supporters vowed to fight to the bitter end and even threatened to cast their vote for BCP’s Vain Mamela.

In the end, the masses carried the day as the central committee reversed its decision to bar Mmolotsi from contesting the primary elections. He went on to win the constituency, polling 1,300 votes to Maoto’s 541, Robi’s 225 and Maripe’s 147.

But Maoto and Robi would later file an appeal against Mmolotsi’s triumph, citing a plethora of irregularities. Maoto made a surprising u-turn by filing the appeal after initially accepting the outcome of the election. But the central committee and the BDP appeals board would later dismiss the two’s appeal.

Lately Mmolotsi has been at the forefront of the barata-phathi’s campaigns, speaking at high profile events where the barata phathi cemented their authority like the Matselagabedi launch of Guma Moyo and the Molepolole launch of Daniel Kwelagobe. He is featured as a candidate for the deputy secretary general position in the Kedikilwe/Kwelagobe faction and, together with other high profile young guns like Gomolemo Motswaledi and Botsalo Ntuane, have repeatedly advocated for the sanctity of the party constitution, in apparent endorsement of DK in the ongoing Khama-DK standoff.

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