Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairman and Tati East Member of Parliament Samson Guma Moyo will have a new challenger in the general elections; Peter Chibuya Kuchwe. The businessman and specially nominated councillor will this time around be contesting in the colours of the opposition Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), which he joined after his appeal against a loss to Guma in the BDP primaries was dismissed.
Kuchwe was trounced by Moyo in the BDP primaries, while he was still a member of the ruling party, garnering a paltry 666 votes to Moyo’s 3 520. Another contestant, Sean Sebele, got 760 votes. He later defected to the BPP and was recently paraded as the party’s new big catch at a political rally in Tsamaya. BPP is a coalition member of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) alongside Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Movement for Democratic Change (BMD).
Before Kuchwe’s defection, the UDC did not have a parliamentary representative in the upcoming general election. UDC deputy secretary general and Tati West parliamentary candidate Richard Gudu confirmed in an interview that the coalition leadership has accepted and endorsed Kuchwe as its parliamentary representative. ”It is true that Kuchwe has been endorsed to represent us in Tati East. His defection to the BPP has helped the umbrella to fill the parliamentary void.
He brought along his sympathizers who felt that they lost the BDP primaries unfairly. As the UDC we are happy to have a candidate of Kuchwe’s calibre,” he said. For his part, Kuchwe accused the appeals committee of the ruling party of favouritism, saying his protest was dismissed even though he had presented sufficient evidence to warrant a re-run. He explained that as a councillor he fully understands the plight of the people of his constituents, which range from shortage of land to unemployment. “Our ploughing fields on the outskirts of Francistown have been converted to residential plots.
Most of us were impoverished by government’s decision to kill all the cattle in zone six and now we are left with nothing to live from,” he said. He decried the current state of affairs in the north east district where land is owned by a few people, saying once in parliament he will lobby government to buy land from private holders and redistribute it for residential, commercial and industrial activities. Kuchwe said there is no justification for land to be in the hands of a few rich people and companies while the ordinary Motswana in the district remains landless. He called for the establishment of an industrial hub that will create permanent employment as opposed Ipelegeng, which is unsustainable and has dismally failed to uplift the people’s standard of living.
His view is that an economic diversification unit, similar to the Selibe-Phikwe Economic Diversification (SPEDU), should be established in the north east district so as to address issue of economic development and employment creation. He called for concerted efforts to diversify the economy from mining and cautioned that there will be rampant unemployment when the mines close down. It remains to be seen whether Kuchwe will be able to unseat Guma under the BPP ticket, after failing to do while they were still brothers in arms at the ruling party.