Ex-mayors battle for the heart of Francistown

NE reporter   Former mayor of Francistown, Ignatius Moswaane, has allegedly embarked on a spirited campaign to wrestle Francistown West constituency from his former ally and mentor, Tshelang Masisi. While Moswaane would not readily admit it, his handlers on the ground have told Northern Extra that their man has not only made up his mind to challenge Masisi, but has long started campaigning as early as 2011. Moswaane, who is a controversial figure in Francistown politics is presently councillor for Monarch South representing the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The ruling party is expected to hold primary elections across the country sometime next year, and already Moswaane is said to be a busy body to position himself for Bulela Ditswe, even Tsholetsa House sanctions campaigns. “Who said I am standing? I am yet to decide on the issue,” he quipped when contacted by Northern Extra this week. However, his acquaintances say the former Francistown mayor has been on the campaign trail in almost all the wards in the constituency including in Masisi’s backyard of Maipaahela and Kgaphamadi. “He has campaign managers in all the wards in the constituency conducting a house to house campaign, as well as addressing rallies. The response is positive, more specially in the three Monarch wards,” said a source close to Moswaane. Recently Moswaane’s backed candidate Godfrey Kaelo won Bulela Ditswe primaries for the July 21st Monarch West by-election. According to his handlers, Kaelo’s victory was a major boost for Moswaane’s Francistown West campaign. “You must remember that Shah Jack (after whom Kaelo is taking over) was Masisi’s long time ally, therefore, Kaelo’s victory now means Masisi’s allies in the city council have been drastically reduced. In fact, the majority of councillors in the constituency are sympathetic to Moswaane,” added the source. Masisi’s absence in the constituency is a further boost to his opponents’ chances. This week, Masisi’s supporters said their man was seriously considering standing again. A veteran politician who has fought and won countless political battles, Masisi is said to be very much in the race. Recently he was involved in a car accident that has since kept him out of political activism in the constituency, but his handlers are confident he will once again parry any challenge from Moswaane or anyone else. “You have to remember that in 2009 many people thought that Peter Ngoma would win Bulela Ditswe against Masisi because he [Ngoma] had launched an early campaign. Masisi had been bedridden for some time and only started campaigning in the last two weeks to the primaries. The rest is history, as he later managed to pull an emphatic and historic win against Ngoma in the primaries. This is the man that no one can afford to count out of the race,” said a Masisi’s loyalist. Other candidates linked to the challenge against the incumbent include former Botswana People’s Party (BPP) president, Whyte Marobela and Kago Phofuetsile, a youthful Francistown West resident. This week, Masisi could not give this publication an interview saying he was recuperating from accident injuries. Elsewhere in Francistown, another former city mayor, Buti Billy is said to have also launched a quiet campaign to topple Phandu Skelemani in Francistown East. In Francistown South former District Commissioner, Sylvia Muzila is said to be ready to lock horns with former MP for the area, Khumo Maoto, who is hoping to make a comeback after losing to Wynter Mmolotsi in the 2008 Bulela Ditswe primaries. Mmolotsi later defected to the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in the aftermath of the 2009 general elections. In another development Ngoma, another former mayor of Francistown, has set a political camp in Charles Tibone’s Tati West constituency after running out of steam against Masisi. After a series of loses, Ngoma hopes to revive his political fortunes at the expense of Tibone.

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 14:20

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