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Saleshando gets constituency in July

Publishing Date : 24 October, 2017


Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader Dumelang Saleshando emerged from the shade this week and stressed that his party Central Committee will deliberate on his fate soon.


He said this in relation to a public discourse enduring on whether he should contest the imminent 2019 General Elections and, on which constituency. This, notwithstanding, that the allocation of constituencies by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has been concluded. Suggestions have been made that he may contest Gaborone South if allocated, although the area is awarded to another party in the talks.


In the allocation, cooperating parties, Botswana National Front (BNF) walked with 22 constituencies, and BCP was awarded 14. The other collaborating parties, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) was given 14 against the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP)’s 4. The affiliates of UDC will contest the next elections as one entity (UDC) against ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).


Currently, the BCP leader does not have a constituency as his illustrious preceding constituency, Gaborone Central, was allocated to the BMD after Phenyo Butale defeated him in 2014 General Elections. Butale got 4601 as compared to Saleshando’s 3727, while Rupert Hambira of BDP came third with 3190 and independent candidate’s Sydney Baitsile was at 35. Under the formula of UDC constituency allocation - incumbency takes precedence.


Speaking to Weekend Post in an interview from South Africa this week Saleshando said he is expecting the BCP Central Committee to brood over the matter and arrive at a conclusion in the sands of time. “The issue of whether or not I should contest rests with the BCP Central Committee. If they decide that I should contest, they will also decide on where I should contest,” he pointed out.


Saleshando highlighted that the BCP Central Committee will have concluded on the matter “just after the July Congress” this year. When quizzed on his position, that is whether he wants the constituency or not, he said his interest in the matter is “inconsequential.”


According to Saleshando, he is not ruling out being assigned a different role which may be to focus on the national campaign. “It’s possible that the decision may be that I should focus on the national campaign.” But, he again explained to this reporter that “yes, I will accept any decision. I do not want to lead debate over this issue as I am conflicted. What my colleagues in the leadership decide will be in the interest of the party, I am duty bound to accept. My personal preference is peripheral.”


Saleshando made the remarks solely to this publication following a BCP Youth League media briefing this week in which the youth structure called for the UDC to apportion the BCP principal a constituency for contesting in the looming 2019 General Elections. In preparation for the 2019 General Elections, “we call on the leadership of the UDC to allocate President Saleshando a constituency,” asserted the BCPYL President Chillyboy Tumiso Rakgare, in his signature crow to journalists. 


Rakgare noted that the issue should have been addressed before the conclusion of constituency allocation. He observed: “the BCP demonstrated its commitment to the talks by giving BPP to Tati East, BMD to Lerala/Maunatlala constituency and Lentsweletau/Mmopane to BNF/BMD. The UDC should also accommodate the youth and women. We will engage the mother body on this one.”


On the issue of controversial Electronic Voting Machines (EVM’s), Rakgare was concerned about the hurry in which the Electoral Act was amended to accommodate the use of EVM’s in the coming 2019 elections. He consequently threatened that, if anything, they will boycott the elections. “Should the IEC and government continue to push the idea, we will ensure that elections are not held.”


However, on his part on the matter, BCP leader Saleshando clarified that the party’s position is that they are challenging EVM’s through court process adding that they are confident it will not survive the legal challenge. “So, debate on whether or not to boycott is not on the table,” he said. 



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