Speculation over which constituency the leader of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando will represent in 2019 has gained currency in recent months, with the party insisting that it is still handling the matter internally. With the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) having allocated BCP 17 constituencies all outside Gaborone where Saleshando last represented his party, his followers are anxiously awaiting pronouncement of where he will run for Parliamentary office. Cooperating parties are Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP), with the BCP having joined late after pulling out of the pact in the run up to the 2014 General Elections. However BCP failed to secure the constituencies they had targeted with party leader Saleshando losing his Gaborone Central seat that he had represented since 1999. BCP captured only Okavango, Ramotswa and Selebi-Phikwe West. Okavango MP Bagalatia Arone has since decamped to join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). While they could not secure targeted seats, BCP nevertheless grew its vote and they used this sufficiently to negotiate for and secure a good slice of seats for the 2019 general elections under the UDC ticket.
BCP spokesman and MP for Selebi-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse could only confirm that they are still handling the mater internally. Internally the UDC partners are debating exchanging constituencies where it could be possible to have Saleshando standing in one of the Gaborone constituencies, possibly Gaborone South. As one of UDC’s Vice Presidents Saleshando’s voice will be needed in Parliament where his followers have maintained he made a huge contribution. Having served in Gaborone as an MP some of his followers say it will be best if the party was to swap with any of its partners to allow him to run in Gaborone South. This area is adjacent to Gaborone Central which he used to represent and has since the last delimitation exercise seen some areas shifted to the South. Though he lost in 2014, Saleshando – his followers say – is well accustomed to politics of the city. However other informed sources have pointed to the possibility of Saleshando running in the constituencies that have already been allocated to his party being Ngami, Maun East and Selebi-Phikwe East. While he grew up in Phikwe and schooled there, his father originally comes from Maun and he can easily assemble election-winning machinery in the area. Meanwhile the party’s decision on the matter is awaited.