Monday, July 4, 2022

‘Mekoko’ set to sweep BDP seats in Francistown

The Botswana Democratic Party is said to be engaged in a futile battle to parry incessant forays by independent candidates who left the party in disgruntlement after last year’s ‘bulela ditswe’ primary elections.

Information reaching The Sunday
Standard indicates that the ruling party has been made to eat humble pie as it is now evident that the shunned ‘mekoko’ – the Setswana colloquialism for independent candidates – who were booed out of the party as sore losers, have made piercing inroads into the BDP’s fort and are set to turn the tables on its general election candidates.

The two former Francistown mayors, Ignatius Moswaane, and former Botswana Peoples Party secretary general, Cornelius Gopolang, have reportedly taken the war to the BDP’s doorstep, and political pundits are already predicting a landslide in their favour.
Moswaane recently ignored threats of expulsion from Francistown regional chairman, Botho Ntirang, and proceeded to stage a high profile launch at which he shot salvos at President, Ian Khama, and the A-team.

He said during the launch he decided to stand as an independent candidate because he could not find relief from the BDP leadership who ignored his pleas.

“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 prevailed upon him to stand as an independent.

Moswaane was dealt a deathly blow when the BDP controversially ordered a re-run after he narrowly beat nominated councillor, Baboni Mosalagae, by 155 to 154 in last year‘s primary elections.
The BDP had ordered a recount in all of the wards in the volatile Francistown West constituency but reserved a re-run verdict for Moswaane’s Monarch South Ward.

His protests that there were no special circumstances to warrant a re-run fell on deaf ears, and he grudgingly went into a repeat duel with Mosalagae, only to be humiliated by 307 to 266 votes.
The litany of complaints that he subsequently raised bore no fruit, and his efforts to seek Khama’s intervention proved futile. His supporters would later prevail upon him to stand as an independent.

BDP insiders have privately commented that Moswaane was given a raw deal by some influential party members.
“The way Moswaane’s case was handled raises a lot of questions. Why was a re-run ordered in Moswaane’s ward only? The large margin with which Mosalage won after she was initially trounced by Moswaane shows that these elections were rigged,” they said.

But recent developments suggest that Moswaane just might have made the right decision, as his political star continues to soar.

Moswaane managed to attract a record crowd during Khama’s September 12 star rally in Pelotelele Ward. Perhaps as a sign that even the President was feeling the pinch of the independents, he could not resist throwing a punch at them, dismissing them as dreamers who will fail to run the country as they don’t have a party and a government within which to operate.

On the other hand, Moswaane dismissed BDP leaders as false politicians who are concerned with sycophancy and bootlicking instead of concentrating on the will of the people.

He added that the BDP leadership has always de-campaigned him citing his candidature against Buti Billy in Francistown’s mayoral race.
“I was victimised because I am a ‘barata phathi’ soldier who always speaks his mind. I never intended to stand as a mokoko. The President claimed to have been busy to attend to my case. O ka nna busy jang a tsamaya a ora melelo,” he charged.

Still in Francistown West, former BPP’s Cornelius Gopolang, who later defected to the BDP and went on to trounce incumbent Kanana Ward councillor, Ace Ntheetsang, by 162 to 159 also left in disgust.

The BDP central committee ordered a recount which led to a tie between Gopolang and Ntheetsang. A re-run was subsequently ordered and Gopolang’s misfortunes took a turn for the worst as Ntheetsang made a resounding comeback and trounced him 255-216.

Kanana Ward residents subsequently wrote a petition protesting the central committee’s decisions. They also accused Ntheetsang of voter trafficking and again pointed an accusing finger at MP, Tshelang Masisi, whom they accused of campaigning for Ntheetsang.

“Just as I won the primaries, I will win the general elections. You must remember that I am only a servant of the people and I was obliged to honour their request for me to stand as an independent because they felt that I am their rightful candidate,” Gopolang said.

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