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Home » News » General » Kekgonegile rejects Saleshando’s proposal

Kekgonegile rejects Saleshando’s proposal

Publishing Date : 13 November, 2017

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership is racing against time in efforts to convince former Botswana Land Boards and Local Government Workers Union (BLLAWU) president, Goretetse Kekgonegile to withdraw his interests from Maun East constituency in favour of party president, Dumelang Saleshando.


WeekendPost has learnt that the party leadership wanted him to rather contest in Ngamiland-a request he bucked. Saleshando currently has no constituency because Gaborone central which he contested and lost in 2014 is under the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The BCP hierarchy is working around the clock to get Saleshando a constituency ahead of the 2019 general elections.


Kekgonegile, who has been campaigning to contest (for a second time) in that constituency for the upcoming 2019 general elections reportedly met with the party leadership on numerous occasions where they attempted to convince him to make way for the BCP president. Kekgonegile however, according to sources, stood his ground and did not give in to the demands.


Highly placed sources revealed that Kekgonegile, who is also the party’s North West regional Chairperson has met with a delegation headed by party vice president, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang who had persuaded him to contest the 2019 general elections at the constituency currently held by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) blue eyed boy and assistant minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Thato Kwerepe.


The BCP, it is said, was hoping that Kekgonegile would compromise for the sake of the party president and the party’s stability – “like it normally happens with other political formations”. Nevertheless, the maverick former trade unionist, it appears is resolute on facing BDP’s Konstantinos Markos to win the constituency in 2019. Kekgonegile lost the constituency by a slim margin in 2014 to Markos; Kekgonegile had garnered 5303 votes against Markos’ 6046. Osimilwe Fish of the UDC was distant third with 2062 votes. With the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the BCP working together, Kekgonegile is confident of victory this time around.


Agreeing to contest in the Ngamiland constituency for the politician, who is still trying to resuscitate his political career, would have been suicidal for Kekgonegile, his advisors say. The Ngamiland constituency is stretched and thus requires more resources than any other.
That notwithstanding BDP has proven to have a diminished grip in Ngamiland. Ngamiland remains one of the winnable constituencies for opposition.


“I didn’t agree with the idea of contesting there because, firstly I was not consulted over this, I was told after the leadership agreed. Secondly I don’t know the dynamics of the constituency (Ngami) so it is better I contest where I am cognizant of the challenges and the political landscape. Furthermore people in Maun want me here so why not heed to their call?” Kekgonegile was overheard talking to a colleague on the phone in Maun. “I have campaigned and already people know me so what would they say when I present a new one. It would be political suicide”.


It is the first time the two political leaders break ranks, Saleshando sang Kekgonegile praises prior to the 2014 elections. Since then, they enjoyed a cordial relationship until the BCP joined the UDC and the constituency demarcation factor cropped out, which threatened the relationship. When contacted for comment Kekgonegile said he would not comment on the matter because it borders on conflict of interest. “I wouldn’t comment on that one because I’m a regional chairperson and when talking about me contesting here it’s a conflict of interest. You can talk to Dithapelo Keorapetse or Kentse Rammidi on that matter more so it implicates party president. They are way above me,” the soft spoken Kekgonegile said.


Last weekend Saleshando together with UDC leader, Duma Boko held a successful star rally in Boseja ward which falls under Maun East. It is said prior to the gathering the party leadership again approached Kekgonegile on the matter and he stood by his word. The first meeting to convince him was in August this year. On the other hand there are those supporting the suggestion of Saleshando contesting in Maun East. “He is a sellable candidate to dethrone Markos,” one of the BCP members said. There has been another thought of the BCP leader contesting in Maun West, a constituency currently held by Kgosi Tawana Moremi.


“Yes he is a sellable product who can contest well in West (Maun) because Reaboka Mbulawa is unopposed and already he has one foot in parliament. If you bring Saleshando there it is easy to convince voters because he is a household name. But then when he oust Kekgonegile who is popular here, chances are they may lose,” said a source. It is said Galaletsang Mhapha is likely to represent the BMD in Maun West after he was given blessings by Moremi. However Moalosi Sebati of Alliance for Progressives is also anticipated to enter the fray with the front runner Mbulawa also in the mix.

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