In a surprising turn of events, strange bedfellows the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) are united behind Francistown South parliamentary candidate, Tiroyaone Ntsima.
Ntsima, who is a BMD activist, has been unanimously endorsed by the coalition partners in Francistown South constituency to challenge the incumbent, Wynter Mmolotsi, the Vice President of the Alliance for Progressives (AP).
The announcement was made by BCP vice president, Dr Kesetegile Gobotswang during the party’s leadership forum that was held in the second city recently. The declaration brings to finality a matter that has been dragging for far too long after the expulsion of the BMD from the coalition. After BMD was kicked out some BCP activists showed interest to contest in the constituency. Their main reason was that they have a huge following and thus stand a better chance to give the incumbent Mmolotsi a run for his money.
Since the 2014 General Elections, political dynamics in the constituency have changed. In the previous polls, Mmolotsi contested under the UDC ticket but currently he is the vice president of the Alliance for Progressives – a breakaway formation from the BMD.
Among those that were harbouring ambitions of contesting for the constituency was David Tawele and BCP Youth League president, Thabologo Furniture. Some within the BCP, among them being Gift Keakitse, were pushing for the UDC leadership to order primary elections in the constituency for the duo to battle it out.
Some within the alliance strongly believe that Ntsima is a political novice who cannot match Mmolotsi. They insist that the coalition could have opted for a more experienced politician to face the incumbent.
Ntsima has confirmed the latest developments within the UDC. “Yes, it is true that the UDC National Executive Committee has confirmed me as the candidate for Francistown South. After BMD was expelled, UDC president Duma Boko said during a press conference in Gaborone that all BMD candidates willing to contest under the UDC ticket could apply to do so and I swiftly seized that moment,” the youthful Ntsima said.
Now that the matter has been put to rest, Ntsima revealed that he has instantly intensified his campaigns in the constituency, adding that he has had a good working relationship with BCP members who have been supporting his candidature.
“With the help of other coalition partners, I am confident that we will win the constituency during the upcoming general elections. I am aware that Mmolotsi has turned the constituency into his fortress but we will oust him,” he declared.
According to Ntsima, a consensus was also reached concerning all the seven wards in the constituency. He stated that Botswana People’s Party and Botswana National Front were given one ward each while the remaining five went to BCP.
Ntsima has also confirmed that he will soon dump the BMD to join one of the parties under the Umbrella. He will now face Mmolotsi and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s Modiri Jojo Lucas at the October polls which political observers have predicted that they will be tightly contested. It remains to be seen whether the new political formation, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will field a candidate at the constituency but sources have hinted that Ford Moiteela might throw his name into the ring.