In the latest political developments in Francistown, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) members in Francistown West are dumping the lime movement in large numbers after finding a new political home at the new kid on the political block, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).
BCP is losing key figures in the constituency as the BPF has embarked on a massive recruitment drive across the country in preparation for the upcoming general elections that are expected to be tightly contested. Among key figures within BCP that have decided to jump ship is Gilbert Makombo who was Francistown West constituency chairperson together with his vice chair, Innocent Maswibilili. Apparently, Makombo and co had a secret meeting with BPF convener, Tati West Member of Parliament, Biggie Butale and Ford Moiteela .
At the meeting, sources claim that a strategy was formed on how to recruit more members from the BCP to join the new political formation. Interestingly, most of the BCP activists who are joining BPF are those that lost primary elections who still harbour ambitions for contesting the October polls. Among those that ditched BCP is Nancy Seemule who is already the BPF Treasurer in Francistown West constituency. BPF also approached BCP Youth League vice president, Nthusi Chimbise to be their parliamentary candidate in Francistown West. Chimbise indicated he had a meeting with BPF leadership but he turned their offer down.
In an interview with The Patriot on Sunday, Makombo confirmed that hordes of BCP members in Francistown West have dumped BCP for BPF. “Yes it is true that we are now BPF members and we already have a fully functional party structure in Francistown West,” the seemingly excited Makombo told this publication. What broke the camel’s back according to Makombo, is the decision by Botswana People’s Party (BPP) to want to take some of the wards in Francistown West which already have candidates from BCP.BPP has already taken Kanana, Tati Town and Monarch North wards but BCP had already fielded candidates in the aforementioned wards. Makombo emphasized that BPP insists on fielding council candidates in Francistown West despite not having functional structures in the constituency. He noted that since Isaac Keleagetse joined BPP, he is the only one who has been trying to resuscitate BPP structures.
Makombo further added that even the BPP parliamentary candidate in the constituency, Mbaakanyi Lenyatso was not formally introduced to other coalition partners. The outspoken politician explained that they have written numerous letters to the UDC leadership seeking their immediate intervention on the impasse but their plea fell on deaf ears. Nonetheless, Makombo said UDC is not their enemy as their main objective is to oust the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from power. He added, “Our leadership at the BPF have already indicated that they will support UDC candidates where possible because as opposition parties our main target is to topple the BDP.” Makombo dismissed allegations that they joined BPF after being promised to be rewarded financially stating that BPF just like any other political party faces financial challenges as currently there is no political party funding.
BCP Francistown regional chairman, Dingalo Ditsheko confirmed that he is aware that many of party members have joined BPF. “It is heart breaking to lose members in large numbers as a political party but it is worth noting that most of the people who left lost primary elections. In my opinion, they are power hungry and greedy,” Dingalo charged. He further held that as the BCP they will have to conduct a membership audit to find out how many members they have lost to the BPF.