Political Machiavellian tactics played out at the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Thamaga-Kumakwane constituency as attempts to remove the parliamentary candidate Ofentse Khumomotse were thwarted.
After a fall out with some of the council candidates whom he accused of sabotaging his parliamentary candidacy, Khumomotse wrote a letter to the constituency chairman on November 30, 2018 seeking to resign. The letter was not accepted by the constituency committee, which advised him to continue as candidate. However, some within the committee asked for a copy of the letter to keep as part of the party’s records.
“He fell for the trap and submitted the letter though he agreed that he will not step down. His detractors then used the letter to inform party members that he has resigned and thus causing confusion,” revealed one of the committee members.
Meanwhile the loser in the primary elections, Kopano Rannatshe wrote to the party leadership asking that he be nominated him as parliamentary candidate since Khumomotse had resigned.
Currently some of Rannatshe’s supporters are allegedly lobbying him to consider taking the party to court should they not heed his call to be their parliamentary candidate based on the Khumomotse’s resignation letter.
In an interview, Rannatshe declined to comment on the issue, saying it was an internal party matter that cannot be discussed with a third party. Khumomotse won the primary elections by 496 votes against Rannatshe’s 357 votes.
Khumomotse confirmed that indeed he contemplated resigning but the constituency committee reined on him not to. He decided to withdraw his intentions of resigning.
“I was shocked when some party members raised concern that I have left them in the lurch after they rallied behind me. I told them that it was not true that I had resigned as a candidate,” he said.
He confirmed that some council candidates conspired to launch an onslaught against him and mobilised forces to campaign against him.
“They had made it clear to all and sundry that they will not support my candidacy. Instead, they were brazenly and defiantly campaigning for the BDP candidate,” he said. Another issue that he said was peddled by his detractors was that he had defected to the ruling party and was now concentrating on his law firm.
Khumomotse, who is a lawyer by profession, said that he has since extended an olive branch to his comrades to work together for the sake of the party and the people of Thamaga-Kumakwane constituency.
Asked if he was aware of allegations that some of Rannatshe’s sympathisers want him to take the issue to court, Khumomotse said he was aware.
“Comrade Rannatshe and I contested primary elections against each other and I emerged the winner and he has accepted the results. That is the end of the question of candidacy in Thamaga-Kumakwane. It is the matter that reposes with the voters not the courts,” he said, adding that he doubts Rannatshe would want to be imposed on the electorates by the courts.
On his relationship with Rannatshe, Khumomotse admitted that it has not a cordial one but he is currently engaging him to try and iron out their differences.