Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership is said to have failed to convince the party’s Parliamentary aspirants for Tlokweng Constituency to reach a compromise and have a consensus candidate. Botswana Guardian can safely reveal that the meeting, which was held this past Saturday in Tlokweng, could not produce the desired results. The BDP leadership believes having a consensus candidate could give the party a greater chance of securing the constituency.
So far there are five candidates vying to represent the party in the by-election expected sometimes this year. This was the second meeting that the BDP convened to convince the aspirants but with no success. The BDP now remains with only one chance to reach a compromise. At press time the closed-door meeting was scheduled for yesterday (Thursday). Information gathered by this publication is that members who are interested are Amantle Matlapeng, Thulaganyo Segokgo, Elijah Fashion Katse, Akanyang Seitshiro and Phineas Molefhe.
Matlapeng and Katse are not new in the BDP political race in Tlokweng. They were in 2014 suspended alongside other members. Katse, who at the time wanted to contest the Parliamentary seat and his council candidates, Tidimalo Motlhose, Stella Matlapeng and Amantle Matlapeng had their primary election victory set aside by the party, alleging vote rigging. However, their suspension was given a blanket pardon by party President Ian Khama in the build-up to the 2014 general election during a star rally in Tlokweng. BDP insiders expect a tight contest between Segokgo, Amantle Matlapeng and Katse should a compromise fail.
Some BDP members are said to be sympathetic to Katse and Segokgo while others believe that Amantle should be given a chance as she has been more active in the constituency even though the party structures there were ineffective. BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane confirmed the weekend meeting and the one scheduled for Thursday (yesterday). He said they have engaged the Tlokweng aspirants over the need to bring their dialogue to closure given that time is fast receding. “We had a good meeting on Saturday morning with them. By Thursday the final position whether we are going for primary elections or managed to agree on a consensus candidate will be determined”, said Ntuane.
The Secretary General stated that it is common cause that the party will sometimes have members agreeing on the compromise but sometimes they do not. “If they do not agree we then go for primary elections because our constitution as the party protects that,” he said.
Party President Ian Khama introduced compromise with the aim of trying to curb factions within the party. The successful BDP candidate either through consensus or election would go head to head with Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate Masego Segokgo. Segokgo, who is Botswana National Front (a contracting member of UDC) Chairman for Tlokweng Branch, was endorsed by the party structures in the constituency. UDC, which will be seeking to retain the constituency, enjoys the backing of Botswana Congress Party.