President of Botswana Movement for Democracy Youth League, Phenyo Segokgo is intending to leave the movement to join Botswana National Front, Botswana Guardian has learnt.Segokgo, who has been a member of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) breakaway party since its formation, has been approached by some BNF councillors within the Tlokweng Constituency.
The councillors are said to have tapped on Segokgo’s unhappiness with the proposed special congress by his party. Sources within the BNF told this publication that the councillors believe this would be beneficial to the BNF, as Segokgo would be pursued to challenge the current area Member of Parliament Same Bathobakae. The councillors believe that BNF under Bathobakae would not be able to retain the constituency due to her inactiveness in the area and in parliament. BNF in the 2014 general election won four wards; BMD four wards while the Botswana Congress Party got one. BNF and BMD are contracting partners for Democratic Change (UDC). Segokgo is believed to be against Advocate Sidney Pilane being admitted back into the BMD but reckons that a Special Congress should not be used as the solution. “This is one of the reasons why he is not active like he used to be these days. The leadership of the BMD has for long been sidelining him. I would not be surprised if he would jump ship. This not so good relationship started long back during the days when the movement was led by the late Gomolemo Motswaledi because he was one of the people who advocated that the BNF should be given the presidency of the UDC,” said a source. His belief was that the BNF has sacrificed so much for the umbrella coalition after the collapse of the Umbrella 1 negotiations.
“Segokgo only managed to mend his relationship with our leader just a few weeks before he passed away”, said a BMD MP who is close to Segokgo. It is also alleged that the youth leader who is also the South East District Council Chairman does not have a good relationship with Party President Ndaba Gaolathe. This is said to have been witnessed through various platforms where Segokgo was never featured in any party activity at which Gaolathe was officiating let alone to show support for the youthful council leader when he was sworn in as council chair. A BNF councillor who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that the plan is not to sabotage Bathobakae but to retain the constituency.
Things are said to have worsened when Segokgo’s team won the BMD youth elections last year whose outcome Gaolathe protested. The councillors from the BNF are said to have promised Segokgo their full support should he make up his mind. “Our MP seems to have distanced herself from the electorate. This is one of the constituencies that the Botswana Democratic Party is dying to snatch from us. In our assessment Segokgo is the only candidate we can sell to the electorate because come 2019 BDP would use all it has to win the constituency. We have nothing against comrade Bathobakae it is only that she is not visible enough even at branch level. Segokgo was unopposed even for the council chairmanship, which shows the confidence that we all have in him. Despite the attacks that Batlokwa unleashed on our MP and some councillors, Segokgo managed to save us through some developments in the area”, said the councillor who attended one of the meetings with Segokgo.
Segokgo is said to have agreed in principle with the councillors. Anticipation is that he will defect to BNF after the completion of his term as BMD Youth leader next year April. Contacted for comment, Segokgo laughed off the matter. He said as far as he is concerned his relationship with the past and current BMD leadership is solid. He dismissed claims that he is not active. “Look I have a healthy relationship with party president. We might have not shared a stage due to other commitments, as you know I am a council chairman and member of Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA). I have close ties with BNF councillors and hold meetings either as a collective or individuals because we belong to the same movement being UDC. We share a lot in terms of bringing developments to our constituency. As for Bathobakae I treat her as my political mother and have a good relationship. All I know is that she is capable and could still represent the UDC come 2019”, he said.
Bathobakae could not be reached for comment. In 2014 she got 6442 votes against Olebile Gaborone of BDP’s 3867. Segokgo won Tlokweng’s Sefoke ward by 964 against Tiego Lekoko’s 325 votes. Fears are that with the new approach by BDP to have shadow MPs in opposition held constituencies Tlokweng is on slippery ground. BDP has stationed MP for Tati East Guma Moyo to take care of the constituency.