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…UDC’s constituency allocations cause havoc
Amid reports that the Botswana National Front (BNF) is grappling with grievances deriving from members’ dissatisfaction regarding how the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) allocated constituencies, the party’s central committee led by its president, Duma Boko will soon embark on a countrywide constituency tour in an effort to plead for calmness, peace within the BNF as well as for a good working relationships with its coalition partners.
BNF secretary general, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa has on Wednesday confirmed during a press briefing held in Gaborone that the party’s central committee has received grievances from two regions and four constituencies in relation to constituency allocations. This is despite the BNF central committee having adopted the coalition’s constituency allocation.
These concerns turns to be the case also with other UDC affiliates with the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) reportedly threatening to contest the upcoming general elections out of the coalition.
Motshegwa indicated that the BNF committee deliberated on their party grievances this past Tuesday and took a resolution to tour the constituencies to bring calmness and understanding to its members and affiliates as to what is at stake being the urgent need of a new government that will bring economic liberation and empowerment to Batswana. He is confident that the grievances will be resolved.
Earlier, the SG noted that they are touring the constituencies as BNF central committee based on the realisation that a coalition is a complex arrangement that when negotiations for constituencies or wards are being held there is need for compromise.
“By touring these constituencies, we are creating and facilitating some form of understanding the dynamics of a coalition and also to be seen in our deeds to be working well together and also supporting our partners so that when we win the constituencies we would have worked on them together. We don’t want a situation whereby any of our partners feels like there is no support from BNF because as a party we want to demonstrate support and good working relationship with them,” Motshegwa said.
Motshegwa has also revealed that the party will on the 10th February host a leadership consultative forum in Tonota- its agenda being to cement and foster unity, harmony, cohesion within the BNF and also enhance political education and preparation for the general elections. “We believe that we are the incoming government therefore the must be a proper takeover,” Motshegwa said stressing that as an opposition they want to be ready the first day after the elections.
The BNF has since issued a writ for the primary elections scheduled to be held before 31st March 2024. The SG said, “the approach is to hold a transparent, free and fair elections for organisational stability and cohesion going into the general elections.”
In fulfillment of UDC manifesto that speaks about offering credible leadership to the nation, Motshegwa added that the BNF primaries will select candidates with sound reputation and credibility in terms of leadership. To ensure this, he noted that there will be a verification process of voters’ roll of constituencies and aspiring candidates conducted by independent committees.
Meanwhile, another resolution take by the BNF central committee on Tuesday is that the party’s women, youth and marginalized groups will pay lower fees than the normal ones for expression of interest to contest in the primary elections. Motshegwa said this is in line with the resolution taken by the central committee in 2023 to offer a special dispensation for these groups.
Motshegwa added that the central committee also resolved that members of these groups who won by-elections would not be contested qualifying them as confirmed BNF candidates under UDC. Furthermore, he revealed that those who also won council elections in 2019 their wards have been reserved specifically for those groups meaning that they will only be contested by themselves. This he said is to ensure that there is a balance of democracy and the need to protect the marginalized groups, women and youths.
“Further to that, prior to our national elections board issuing a writ, we had issued a request for them to express their interest to contest as a member of parliament. So based on that information we have further said the constituencies will seat down to dialogue for a consensus candidate to consider and factor in these issue of special dispensation so that the outcome reflects that.”