Jacob Nkate; the return

DETERMINED: Nkate

One of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) political heavy weights, Jacob Nkate is set to return to the rough and tumble of general elections campaign in 2024.

In a brief interview, the former cabinet minister said he will announce his decision to contest for 2024 general elections at the end of the month and make it known which constituency between Ngami and Maun West he would have chosen to try his luck.

“I have made a decision but I am yet to consult the party structures. At the end of this month I will announce my decision,” Nkate explained.

A few months ago Nkate admitted that both branches of Ngami and Maun West constituencies have requested him to be their parliamentary candidate in the coming general elections and he said he in turn asked them to give him time to think it over and allow him to consult further.

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“I have to go back to the two constituencies and let them know of my decision first,” he added.

Nkate who is also the party’s former secretary general and former ambassador to Japan was Ngami member of parliament since 1994 until 2009 when he lost to the opposition.

He however harboured a dream of returning to parliament in 2019 but that was dashed by the then Ngami constituency’s incumbent member of parliament, Thato Kwerepe who defeated him during the party’s primary elections, Bulela-ditswe a year prior to that.

Nonetheless, Kwerepe equally lost to opposition’s new comer to politics, Caterpillar Hikuama who is the current area MP under Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

BDP went on to lose all the four constituencies in the North West district including Maun east, Maun West and Okavango to UDC.

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In preparation to win back the constituencies, BDP according to its regional chairman, Reaboka Mbulawa has been trying to reinforce, strike a compromise and field their strongest candidates in these areas. However, he refused to share details as to who will be fielded where.

Nonetheless speculations were rife that while Nkate would be fielded in Maun West to face one of the strongest opposition leaders, Dumelang Saleshando, Kavis Kario would take Ngami while Mbulawa tries his luck in Maun East.

However some insiders say Nkate is doubting his chances in Maun West and is likely to opt for Ngami, “because that is his base. He will rather face Kario in primaries.”

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Asked whether he has interest in contesting for Ngami parliamentary seat, Kavis Kario, who is former member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe, said, “I have not yet made that determination, but it is honourable for people to consider me for a post like that, to want me to serve them in a field that I love and have passion for.”

Kario was neither denying nor confirming his interest in Ngami constituency.

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