Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s North West region has finally found a potential parliamentary candidate for Maun West constituency following a refusal by the party’s former Secretary General, Jacob Nkate, to take up the challenge for the 2024 general elections.
Nkate has chosen instead to stay put in his former stronghold, Ngami constituency.
The 53-year-old Masoko Masoko of Meno ward in Maun is being touted as the man to rescue BDP by wrestling the constituency from the clutches of the opposition coalition.
A Maun native and BDP stalwart, Masoko has expressed confidence that he could snatch Maun West from the incumbent, Dumelang Saleshando, the Vice President of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Confirming his interest, Masoko said in an interview this week, “I am interested and have already met the leadership of the region.”
By leadership, Masoko meant the party’s regional chairperson, Reaboka Mbulawa, and some of his team members.
“As you maybe well aware, the party has not yet opened for candidate applications, so I have simply stated my interest and will be meeting party structures to discuss this matter further,” said Masoko, a Human Capital Empowerment Consultant who has never contested in general elections before even though he has been a member of the party’s National Executive Committee (NYEC) in his youth days.
BDP has been struggling to find a strong contender in Maun West after the departure of Mbulawa, who moved to Maun East constituency last year after losing the 2019 general elections to Saleshando.
As the party’s regional chairperson, however, Mbulawa has been trying to get the region to agree to a compromise candidate ahead of the 2024 general elections.
He courted Nkate to contest in Maun West instead of Ngami to avoid a fierce primary election battle between Nkate and the former constituency MP, Thato Kwerepe, who beat Nkate in the primary elections only to lose the general elections in 2019.
However, Nkate rejected Mbulawa’s offer. Some of the names that cropped up as possible candidates included that of Gomolemo Zimona, former television personality and Director Government communications in the office of the president, who is perceived to have a clout to sway ballots in his favour.
However, Zimona said he had no intention of joining active politics; especially that he works in the civil service.
With Masoko rising to the occasion, Mbulawa explained, “Just like any other democrat who has shown interest in Maun West, he contacted me and we had a candid chat on the matter.”
He further added, “I, of course, directed him to the branch in question and showed him the importance of physical presence and contribution in deeds and working alongside the branch as key.Separately, I sighted a few veterans, leaders that he has to familiarise himself with, as they are kingmakers, should there be need for his anticipated contribution in leadership.”