As the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) mulls fresh primaries for Francistown West constituency following its failure to field a candidate for the 25th January by-election, two new entrants have declared their interest to contest and are understood to have already begun working behind the scenes.
The duo is former Francistown mayor Peter Ngoma and┬áRauboy Mupang, councillor for Monarch East.
BDP failed to field a candidate in the by-election after Whyte Marobela who had lost to Ignatius Moswaane resorted to the courts for an injunction to stop the party from submitting Moswaane’s name on the eve of the nomination day in November last year.
Marobela through an urgent application interdicted the BDP from submitting Moswaane’s name decrying irregularities in the primaries that declared Moswaane the winner. The court injunction was granted by Justice Tshepo Motswagole of the Lobatse High Court.
Incensed by the interdict, the BDP moved unsuccessfully to have the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) accept its candidate’s nomination. Justice Terrence Rannowane dismissed the BDP’s application holding that the commission had accepted Moswaane’s nomination, it would have been guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of┬áa contempt of court crime.
The BDP appealed Justice Rannowane’s judgment and lost.
Subsequently acting president Ponatshego Kedikilwe ordered a proclamation postponing the by-election to January 25 citing public interest and pending BDP appeals as underlying reasons. The petition that the acting president relied on is proving fraudulent as some of the petitioners are known dead opposition activists like Tolani Poiso, the former Botswana Peoples Party secretary general.
With time ticking closer to January 25 and without BDP representation, it appears that the by-election will be finally contested by Shatiso Tambula of the Umbrella for Democratic Change, Dr Habaudi Hobona of the Botswana Congress Party and independent candidate Kago Phofuetsile.
As confusion reigns supreme for the BDP’s representation in the by-election and the 2014 general election with the party mulling fresh primaries, former Francistown mayor and two time loser in the constituency Ngoma is back to stake a claim.
After losing to the late Tshelang Masisi in the 2003 and 2008 primaries, Ngoma relocated to Tati West constituency where he last year got another thumping from Reverend Biggie Butale. He however was part of the losing candidates who protested the results but has since withdrawn from the set of appellants.
In an interview with The Telegraph, nomadic politician Ngoma confirmed that he has withdrawn from the team of protesters whose appeal hearing is slated for today at the party’s headquarters. The other protesters in the Tati West constituency are Robert Muzila and Farayi Bonyongo and 16 council candidates.
“It is true that I have withdrawn from the team of protesters. I have communicated my withdrawal to party secretary general Mpho Balopi and I will not be attending the appeal hearings. I further communicated to him that I have returned to my former base of Francistown West,” said Ngoma adding that if the party leadership orders fresh elections,┬áhe will submit his name for consideration to contest.
“I cannot talk much but I have indicated my return. If the party leadership orders fresh primaries to identify a candidate for this year’s general election, I will submit my name and await the decision as to whether I am allowed to contest or not. I am hopeful that looking at the party rules, there is nothing barring me from contesting hence my decision to make a comeback. Democrats on the ground have asked me to stand,” said Ngoma who added that he hoped his declaration of interest is not in breach of party primary regulations.
Mpuang, who last year defected from the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) has also confirmed that if fresh elections are┬áordered, he will submit his name for consideration. “It is true I want to contest. Some democrats have approached me to contest and I have agreed. They feel Iam a son of the constituency and a capable representative,” said Mpuang.
When asked if the rules of the party do not bar him from contesting since he rejoined the party only last year, he said his understanding is that the party leadership granted a blanket waiver to returnees to contest for any position in the party in the run-up to the Maun national congress when some questioned former chair Samson Moyo Guma’s candidature.
“I take it that the party rules and regulations allow to me stand. If I am not allowed to stand, the party leadership will advance its reasons for the rejection,” said Mpuang adding that he has long submitted resignation to the BMD.
While there is imminent talk of fresh elections, Moswaane’s supporters are adamant that the appropriate procedure for the party leadership is to order a re-run and not fresh election which will be open to democrats who did not contest the by-election primaries.