A political scuffle is in the offing between the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and its potential coalition partner Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) after the parties clashed over nominating a candidate for the upcoming Mmaphula East Ward in Palapye.
The BPF central committee has proposed that UDC withdraw its candidate in the by-election to allow them to field one of their own. Sources close to developments intimate that BPF’s attempts to convince UDC to withdraw interest to contest hit a brick wall.
UDC has already fielded Mompoloki Mohutsiwa while BPF is still looking for a suitable candidate.
“BPF has reached out to the UDC to withdraw its candidacy for the ward, but UDC hasn’t acceded to the request. BPF’s contention is that it has strong presence in GaMmangwato, hence UDC should yield the ward to them, ” a source whispered.
To compound BPF problems, it is alleged that the party is struggling to find a suitable candidate as their members in Palapye are playing their cards close to chest, closely watching the looming split within the party.
Going into the 2019 elections, the then newly formed BPF rode on the popularity of former President Ian Khama to wrestle constituencies GaMmangwato (Central District) from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The BPF won all three Serowe constituencies. The party also scored a significant number of council wards across the Central District.
The BDP government has since moved swiftly to dismantle the Central District under the pretext of improving service delivery in local authorities.
Efforts to contact BPF president Biggie Butale proved futile at press time were unsuccessful at he did not respond to WhatsApp enquiries sent to him although he read them.
Independent political analyst Frank Mogotsi said the relationship between BPF, which misses the Khama magic, will not boost UDC fortunes ahead of 2024 elections. He said BPF would be strategically positioned to contest for GaMmangwato constituencies if Khama was still interested in the party. “If Khama was committed to the BPF, UDC would have not contested. Khama would use a region like Palapye to solidify his strength in central, ” he observed.
Moreover, he said the new marriage between UDC and the Alliance for Progressives (AP) would disadvantage BPF which is currently in a comma, as the coalition will do everything in their power to please their new found partners.
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