- BNF central committee internal squabble linked to the sacrificing of constituencies - Party sacrifices key constituencies - Motshegwa - the only SG without a constituency in the coalition - BPP gets Francistown-East shattering ambitions of BPF VP to contest - Coalition leadership accused of focusing on individuals rather than party’s strength

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has announced the conclusion of their negotiations which ended with the allocation of the last remaining constituency, Francistown East.

The partners are Alliance for Progressives (AP), Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Botswana Peoples Party (BPP).

All the parties were deadlocked in Francistown East but the AP and BNF gave way for BPF and BPP to reach a compromise. The BPP emerged victorious and bagged the constituency where its Deputy Secretary General Tiroeaone Ntsima is expected to contest.

This has now closed out BPF Vice President Dr Keorapetse Muzila who was eyeing the constituency.

Although the deal on the table for the negotiating parties was based on compromise, the BNF, in-spite of its many constituencies, has emerged the most scathed from the allocations. This, according to sources has caused tensions within the party.

The BNF is leading the pack with 26 constituencies. However, BNF cadres are not happy that some of the constituencies where the party performed better during the 2019 general election have been sacrificed.

According to sources, in those constituencies BNF is even leading in terms of membership and active structures. News from the party is that even though the party has been given many constituencies which they believe the party deserves as the champion of opposition unity, some of the constituencies are not winnable.

They fear that what happened in 2019 is likely to repeat in this year’s elections and the party might not be able to bring all the constituencies, while other contracting partners will have an easy ride through the existence of the BNF’s active structures and membership.

The sacrificing of some of the constituencies have been linked to internal squabbles within the party especially at leadership level. It is alleged that all is not well within the BNF Central Committee following the party’s 2022 Elective Congress held at Ba Isago University in Gaborone.

The differences within the central committee also played itself out during the party’s meeting in Francistown, a meeting which is said to have made resolutions that were later reversed by the party leader Advocate Duma Boko.

One of the resolutions was the removal of former BNF Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa as one of the representative of the party within the UDC National Executive Committee (NEC).

The meeting resolved to replace Mohwasa with former BNF Women’s League President Dr Bonang Nkoane who has since resigned from the party.

Boko argued that there is no how the meeting could have made any resolution since the meeting was postponed and was to continue the following week. He argued that Mohwasa cannot be removed from the UDC NEC as he is placed there for strategic purposes.

Some of the constituencies that have caused an uproar within the BNF circles are Metsimotlhabe-Mmopane (formerly called Mmopane-Letsweletau), Mochudi East, Mmadinare, Tswapong North, Francistown East and Molepolole South.

According to insiders, the BNF members who had worked the ground in these constituencies and stood a better chance of wining during the national polls were targeted as they were believed to be anti- president Boko’s preferred lobby list.

The affected members are BNF Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa Secretary General (Mmadinare), Dr Tlamelo Mmatli (Molepolole South); Olebogeng Watshipi (Metsimotlhabe-Mmopane); Obakeng Matlou (Mochudi East); Kabo Ketshogile- Regional Chairperson for Klass Motshidisi Region (Tswapong North); and Moses Otsweleng- Michael Mzwinila Region (Francistown East).

The frustrated members are of the view that the allocations were also not based on the strength of political parties but were meant to reward certain individuals especially within the leadership of the contracting partners.

Motshegwa is currently the only SG of the contracting partners who does not have a constituency.

Disgruntled members are said to be conducting membership meetings to discuss the matter. While the aim of the meetings is to make the membership understand the compromise concepts, information reaching this publication is that the members have demanded that if the allocations status quo remains, there has to be a demand for larger portion of wards for the BNF in the affected constituencies.

BNF Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa had not responded to enquiries on the matter at press time.