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The race for the Maun West contest in the coming general elections seems to intensify by day, with former legislator for the same constituency Ronald Ridge confirming that he is contemplating to contest elections for the constituency.
If this development comes to pass, Ridge will face off with Prophet Thato Patrick Elias commonly known as TP Elias, who is also reportedly eyeing the same constituency in the ruling BDP primary elections. Ridge’s decision to join the race surely unsettles Elias ‘allies who have all along believed he will stand unopposed in the primaries.
The contest at party level will be of interest as on one hand Elias is said to command a large following from his church and members of the Christian community, and on the other Ridge is an experienced politician who is reported to have the backing of some party elders.
Ridge has confirmed to this publication that he is contemplating to contest for Maun West; this he said comes after he was approached by some party elders in the constituency pleading with him to contest. The former MP said he therefore does not want to disappoint the people who trust that he is the rightful person who can reclaim the constituency back from the opposition.
“The elders told me they want a strong and experienced candidate who can give opposition a run for its money and win the constituency back to the party, therefore they believe that I am the person who can deliver that mandate,” he said.
BDP lost the Maun West to opposition when Tawana Moremi quit the party in 2011 and the constituency has been under the opposition since. Ridge is confident that the BDP can win back the constituency for reasons that it has always been a strong hold of the ruling party.
He claimed that some of those who approached him have confessed that they have in the previous general elections voted for the opposition because they were not happy the way things were done in the party.
In their effort to win back the constituency, Ridge says the constituents have assured to give him full support should he contest. The former MP added that after leaving public office, he has also been politically active in the constituency.
Asked about Elias, Ridge said he is willing to seat and have a discussion with the Prophet to see if they can reach a consensus which he pointed is what party President, Mokgweetsi Masisi always encourages.
“I have heard about him contesting and I have no problem with that but I hope to have a chat with him to see if we can reach some sort of an agreement,” Ridge said.
Stressing the spirit of compromise, he highlighted that in the past general elections he supported, then BDP candidate Reaboka Mbulawa as well as his area councilor in Moeti Ward though they did not win the elections.
“In 2019 I decided not to stand but to support Mbulawa because he was young, eager and determined to win the constituency and I weighed the environment and I then stepped back and rallied behind him,” he stressed.
After serving a term in parliament Ridge lost the BDP party primaries for the same constituency in 2008 to Tawana Moremi.