In another dramatic turn of events in Francistown South constituency, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko has taken a decision to award Phillip Matante West ward to a BNF activist, Jobe Ramagapu overlooking BCP’s Dingalo Ditsheko, a move that has angered some BCP foot soldiers in the constituency.
A source within the coalition told The Patriot on Sunday that Boko recently visted Francistown to resolve an impasse in the ward between the two potential candidates. It is alleged that at the meeting Ramagapu informed Boko about his desire to contest the ward. “When interviewing the two candidates, Ramagapu admitted that he is currently residing in Tonota but he is willing to transfer his vote to Phillip Matante West and even rent a house in the ward for him to start his campaigns,” the source claimed. He further said on the other hand, Ditsheko told the UDC leader that his campaigns at the ward are at advanced stages as he has already set up a campaign team and engaged in house to house campaigns. The source further hinted that Ditsheko told Boko that he has also registered voters in the ward during the three voter registration processes that were conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). The sources who wanted to remain anonymous stated that they were shocked after Boko decided to give the ward to BNF instead of BCP. “We strongly belief that Boko was biased towards his own party to award the ward to a BNF activist with only two months to the much anticipated general elections. Ramagapu will not win that ward because he is not known by the electorates,” he charged. He claimed that what Boko is doing is planting seeds of discord within the UDC as the BNF does not have structures within Francistown South constituency.
During internal consultations about ward allocations in the constituency, the committee that was given the mandate to distribute the wards had taken a decision to give Somerset East to BCP, Boikhutso was taken by the BPP, Phillip Matante East went to BCP as well as Ipopeng, Tshwaragano was given to BNF while there was a tier in Phillip Matante West as BNF and BCP candidates expressed interest to contest the ward hence the matter was referred to Boko to make a final determination. Many within the coalition had thought Boko will give the ward to BCP which has fully functional structures and huge following in the constituency.
Ditsheko who is also BCP Francistown regional Chairperson said he could not comment on the matter as he is conflicted as a candidate in the ward. “I can confirm that president Boko recently held a meeting to solve the impasse of ward allocations but I am yet to receive a formal communiqué from the BCP secretariat about who was given the ward. I have heard allegations from BNF party members that the ward has been given to their party,” Ditsheko disclosed.
BNF regional chairman, Meshack Mbulayi dismissed the allegations that Boko took the decision alone. “This was a collective decision that was taken unanimously by all the affected parties. We as the BNF are equal partners within the UDC and we deserve to be allocated some wards also. BCP got more wards than us, they got 4 while we were given 2 whereas BPP took 1,” Mbulayi revealed. According to Mbulayi the issue of ward allocations in Francistown South is now water under the bridge.
BCP Francistown South constituency chairperson, Gift Keaiketse reiterated that they are yet to receive a formal communication about ward allocations in the constituency. Keaiketse pleaded with BNF members to reach a compromise and let Ditsheko represent the coalition at the ward as he has already incurred expenses. “Ditsheko has already printed about 350 T-shirts for his campaign and therefore he should be given the opportunity to contest for the ward,” he averred.