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Sharing of constituencies issue closed – Boko

Publishing Date : 24 October, 2017


The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana National Front (BNF) president, Duma Boko has highlighted that the issue of constituencies have long been closed up. He said, it therefore not subject for re-opening for further discussions.

This comes after there are uncertainties as to who will assume the occupation of constituencies allocated to one of the UDC affiliates, Botswana Movement of Democracy (BMD) following the departure of six of its incumbent lawmakers and a myriad of Councilors and ordinary members. The group led by soft spoken Ndaba Gaolathe this week officially announced exit from BMD to form a new political home - with signature purple colours - named Alliance for Progressives (AP). The new party will be launched in October.

This means there will be no chance for AP to negotiate to re-enter the UDC before 2019 General Elections as all constituencies have been dully allocated to existing contracting partners. The battle lines therefore are drawn between three political parties being the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the UDC and the new entrant AP. When commenting on the new party and clarifying the constituency matter during their debut public event at Civic Centre in Gaborone since Ndaba and companions’ departure, Boko informed the UDC followers at the hall that there is no how the party can re-open the constituency issue, despite the circumstances that the BMD finds itself in.

In fact he said the pronouncement is now old song. The leader whose leadership mantle is currently being tested said this was an accord made between him (Boko) in capacity as UDC leader, and another UDC affiliate Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s president Dumelang Saleshando during the party’ s meeting at Francistown earlier this year. At the meeting the then BMD President Gaolathe and preceding UDC affiliate Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) he said were also present. “At Francistown meeting the controversial issue of constituencies, it was agreed that it cannot be re-opened as it is very contentious,” Boko, who is also leader of opposition in parliament pointed out.

However he added that what was said can only be entertained are bilateral talks between the affiliate members of the opposition umbrella if there is a will amongst them. He continued to stress that therefore the constituency issue cannot be touched as they have “learned a lesson” and “learned it the hard way.” “You know I have to tell you this; the easiest thing that we had to agree with and agreed during opposition talks was the policies. In terms of the policies, the BPP, BCP, BMD and BNF were all in agreement with no objections. We only had a big problem when it came to the allocation of constituencies for member parties,” Boko highlighted.   

In terms of the allocation of constituency as approved, for UDC, it was announced last year that opposition BNF be awarded 22 constituencies. Then followed by its 1998 break away party, the BCP, which bagged in 17 constituencies. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s splinter party, BMD would come third with 14 constituencies while the oldest party BPP got a paltry 4. In terms of the 14 pocketed by BMD, it would seem that subsequent to the departure of Gaolathe’s faction to form AP, the elected President at the Matshekge Junior School, Bobonong which was said to be a constitutional place for the event – Sidney Pilane has the last laugh.

Pilane, although the BMD deadlock is not yet over per se and its end not officially announced, he will preside over the 14 constituencies allocated to BMD of the UDC as a president residual from the BMD impasse.  At the moment 5 incumbent BMD MP’s Butale, Gaolathe representing Bonnington South, legislator for Mogoditshane Sedirwa Kgoroba, Mmankgodi Manyana lawmaker Pius Mokgware, Francistown West’s Wynter Mmolotsi as well as Nkaigwa from Gaborone North are expected to join the new party AP.

Only 2 Members of Parliament will remain at the BMD being Gilbert Mangole from Mochudi West and Tlamelo Mmatli standing in for Molepolole South. Both also serve in BMD NEC. It will be a marvel to watch who will be fielded in the constituencies following the exodus. Amongst areas of interest would be Gaborone Central where UDC’s Saleshando may stand against the incumbent MP Phenyo Butale of AP.



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