Despite enjoying his huge popularity in the Francistown region, Botho Ntirang, a specially elected councilor with the Sowa Township Council (STC) seems to be facing several hurdles in his long walk to becoming a Member of Parliament. At one point, Ntirang became a household name amongst the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) faithful when he was the Francistown region’s chairperson. Ntirang literally became the face of the ruling party and was best described as BDP’s motor-mouth for his outspokenness. He engraved his name into the hearts of many BDP followers. Buoyed by the following and respect he commanded, Ntirang threw his name into the political hat and showed immense interest in participating in the BDP primaries for Tonota constituency in 2013. That was in preparation for the 2014 General Election. However, Ntirang chickened out at the eleventh hour, citing unfavorable numbers in his corner. Four years later, Ntirang is of the belief he can go for the jugular. “I cannot confirm or deny the possibility of me participating in the primaries,” Ntirang said in an interview. However, information gathered by this publication show that Ntirang has started campaigning in the area. When withdrawing his candidature in 2013, Ntirang said: “My voters wanted me to withdraw and contest in the next election. That is why I have pulled back from the race in recognition of my voters’ demands.”
According to impeccable sources, Ntirang is amongst the four candidates, including the incumbent and Youth, Sport and Culture Empowerment Minister Thapelo Olopeng will contest next year’s BDP primary elections. Central District Council (CDC) chairperson Peter Williams has allegedly shown interest alongside educationist and businessman, Setshege Tapela. Contacted for a comment, Tapela, who is also the sitting the Tonota constituency branch chairperson, was noncommittal. “As for now, I have not made any decision about the possibility of participating in the primary elections. I cannot predict the future,” said the former Tonota College of Education (TCE) lecturer, adding that he is currently serving the party, as the branch chairperson for Tonota constituency. BDP Francistown Regional chairperson Baemedi Medupi confirmed that like others Tonota constituency is bracing for primary elections that will happen next year. “Nothing official bas been brought to the attention of the regional office,” said Medupi. Endless efforts to get comments from Olopeng and Williams proved fruitless as their mobiles rang unanswered until press time.