It would have seemed all but absurd until the formation of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), but the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) appears set to win back Francistown South. Despite the socio-economic challenges submerging Francistown, investigations carried out by the Patriot on Sunday in the Francistown South constituency indicated that the ruling party is patiently capitalizing on the political blunders of the opposition. Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi, a former BDP member before co-forming the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in 2010 and founding the AP this year, has been a darling of many in the area. Mmolotsi became the MP for Francistown South in 2009 on a BDP ticket. In 2014, Mmolotsi triumphed again thanks to the combined efforts of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) – a coalition of BMD, Botswana National Front (BNF) and Botswana Peoples’ Party (BPP). To many, Mmolotsi was the regarded as the messiah. The expectations were that Mmolotsi will take the people of Francistown South to the Promised Land of economic freedom but it seems not to be anymore. However, the formation of AP has shattered the dreams of many on the constituency. And the scales are seemingly tilting in favour of the ruling BDP. “It is a mantra that BDP activists in Francistown South have adopted and singing with a desperate bid to ensure that the voters will fall into the trap,” Mmolotsi confirmed, adding that the Francistown voters have been fed with this mantra. Mmolotsi said the “desperate BDP” has resorted to dig for every trick in the book to discredit him and the rest of the AP supporters. “BDP members are going around saying all sorts of bad things about us. But it is not strange, as we long saws it coming,” said Mmolotsi. He said BDP activists are forgetting to tell people of Francistown the truth about the circumstances that led to him dumping the ruling party to form the BMD.
“They should tell people that I was chased away from the BDP by (President) Ian (Khama) before (the BMD Secretary General, Gilbert) Mangole made life difficult for us, as the AP members,” charged Mmolotsi. Khumongwana Maoto, Lamodimo Dikomang and Modiri Lucas have refused to be drawn into discussing the matter, arguing that they will only talk about Mmolotsi after the postponed BDP primary elections are held. However, sources so close to the goings on have hinted that the trio has one thing in common – discrediting Mmolotsi and the AP – and seem to be winning the war. “Mmolotsi dug his own political grave by forming a new party following a fall-out with Advocate Sydney Pilane,” said Marble Moenga, a resident of Philip Matante West ward and a voter for the past 16 years. Former BMD president Ndaba Gaolathe, Mmolotsi and host of the anti-Pilane camp formed the AP in haste thanks to frustration in the wake of the UDC’s recommendation of a power-sharing between the then Ndaba/Pilane factions. “It is really showed that Mmolotsi and the rest of his companions are power-hungry. Mmolotsi could not stomach being under the leadership of Pilane or any other member,” charged another voter, Muhinda Talinda. Information reaching this publication is that the BDP activists have managed to convince the voters in Francistown South to view Mmolotsi and the AP followers as “people full of individualism and self-serving.”