Former Francistown mayor Ignatius Moswaane risks expulsion from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party if he continues with his decision to stand as an independent candidate in Francistown South’s Monarch Ward.
This was revealed by BDP Regional Chairman, Botho Ntirang, on Friday following reports that Moswaane had decided to stand as an independent after efforts to have his protest against his primary election loss drew a blank.
“He must know that he ceases to be a bona fide member of the BDP as soon as he stands as an independent,” Ntirang warned.
Moswaane confirmed his candidacy to The Sunday Standard on Friday, saying he took the decision after he had exhausted all avenues through which he could convince the BDP leadership to listen to his pleas.
“I waited for as long as I could before taking this very difficult decision. I am a firm believer in the policies of the BDP, but they have failed me, and democracy allows me to make choices that will in the end benefit me and the people that I represent,” he said.
He added that the people of Monarch South are the ones who prevailed upon him to stand as an independent.
Moswaane, who is one of the most prolific and controversial politicians to come out of Francistown, suffered a massive blow that blew the daylights out of his political career when the BDP controversially ordered a re-run after he narrowly beat nominated councilor Baboni Mosalagae 155-154 in last year ‘s BDP primary elections.
After the volatile Francistown West primaries, the BDP ordered a recount in all of the wards, but reserved a controversial re-run verdict for Moswaane’s Monarch South Ward.
A livid Moswaane vowed not to accept a re-run, saying there are no special circumstances that warrant such a drastic decision. He accused his detractors of plotting to rob him of his hard earned victory and vowed to fight to the death to see that justice is done.
But the BDP stood its ground and Moswaane grudgingly went into the second round of the duel with Mosalagae, only to be humiliated with a 307 to 266 victory by the challenger. The litany of complaints that he subsequently raised bore no fruits as the electoral board insisted that Mosalagae’s win should stand. Moswaane would later seek President Ian Khama’s intervention, but to no avail as his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Now, a frustrated Moswaane has announced that he will stand as an independent candidate. Indications are that Moswaane’s supporters, who have vowed not to vote for Mosalagae in the general elections, have prevailed upon him to stand.
Many in the BDP have privately commented that Moswaane was given a raw deal by some influential party members. The outspoken barata phathi foot soldier has, in the past, been reported to the central committee by some A-team syncopaths who accused him of putting the party into disrepute and disrespecting President Ian Khama.
He has also publicly dismissed the BDP’s caucus system as undemocratic in the fight for the mayorship of Francistown.
“The way Moswaane’s case was handled raises a lot of questions. Why would you order a recount in all wards and a rerun in Moswaane’s ward only? What was so special about his ward? The large margin with which Mosalage won after she was initially trounced by Moswaane shows that these elections were rigged,” they said in private.
Moswaane‘s supporters are said to have convinced him to stand as an independent candidate in a bid to frustrate the BDP’s efforts to shoo Mosalagae into the Monarch South ward through the back door. Moswaane, however, has pointed out that he will not leave the BDP and will continue using the party’s “tsholetsa domkrag” slogan and manifesto, only replacing the BDP symbol with his own.
But Ntirang has warned that “the BDP cannot afford to have an opposition within a ruling party.” He also warned that Moswaane will be breaching the independent electoral commission rules if he uses the party slogan and manifesto, such that he will be disqualified from standing for elections. However, Ntirang said that they have not yet received any correspondence from Moswaane about his resignation. For his part, Moswaane said that he will release an official statement tomorrow (Monday).