Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) representatives in the ongoing Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) negotiations for the allocation of council wards recently walked out of a meeting, insisting that their demand for more wards in GaMmangwato be met, The Patriot on Sunday has learnt.
Information dug out by this publication is that the UDC negotiating parties had to prematurely abort conclusion of wards allocation this week, with BPF demanding majority of wards in GaMmangwato. The hefty demands put forward by the BPF delegation is said to be emanating from the pressure piled on the BPF leadership by some regions who are not pleased with the UDC constituencies sharing outcomes.
“BPF is exerting pressure on the negotiations with its proposals to get a lion’s share in wards under Serowe, Palapye, Mahalapye, Shoshong and Bobirwa constituencies. BPF demands are motivated by its conflict with BNF over Tonota and Shoshong constituencies give to BNF. BPF want them,” a source said.
However, it is said other UDC contracting parties being BNF, AP and BPP rejected with BPF proposal to have it allocated majority of wards in GaMmangwato, a development that can put UDC unity to test.
Last week BPF Mahalapye West constituency concerned group members said they will not support UDC candidate in the constituency, adding that the BPF will vote for any other serious party that the UDC.
The member’s concern is that the constituency was allocated to UDC and incumbent MP David Tshere expected to represent the coalition. Sources say BPF could take disciplinary action against members.
BNF Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa in a letter addressed to BNF Regional and Constituency Secretaries admitted that there are challenges in negotiation of ward allocation due to amongst others ambiguity in the guidelines. Earlier last month, UDC announced concluded constituency sharing talks.
“Kindly note that the process is deferred or postponed until proper guidance is given for smooth running and conclusion. You shall be updated in terms of resumption date for negotiations of wards and the enhanced guidelines to be followed,” said Motshegwa communicating outcomes to the BNF regions.
On Friday, BPF Publicity Secretary Amogelang Mokwena said wards negotiations were postponed not for reasons that BPF demanded more wards, adding that they cordially agreed for the postponement of talks. Mokwena said BPF is committed to the UDC project and has no intentions to pull out despite some displeasure expressed by the concerned members group from Mahalapye West and Francistown East.
“Our congress has resolved that we become a UDC member. We are going to consult with our concerned members from the affected constituencies who are against allocation of UDC constituencies outcomes. There would be always indifferences but that shouldn’t mean that we want to exit UDC,” said Mokwena.
Political commentator, Kitso Morekisi said the UDC should have opted for independent or neutral panel to assist it with resolving allocation of wards and constituencies, adding that such could minimize wars. He said deferring ward allocation demonstrate high level of tension amongst negotiating UDC partners buttressing that the disagreements that have been noted after the talks show a chaotic negotiations.
“One would have expected BPF to dictate terms with regards to constituencies or wards that borders in GaMmangwato land. BPF is taking courage from its 2019 general elections performance influenced by Ian Khama. That influence would be seen if it can still work wonders for the UDC/ BPF,” he buttressed.
Morekisi said it is also important that UDC embarks on reconciliation processes as soon as the wards allocation negotiations are concluded by encouraging member parties to preach unity and promote UDC.
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