LUBINDA’S HEAD ON THE BLOCK
The Special Nominations of councillors is threatening to divide the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) membership in the North West.
At the centre of the internal conflict is an alleged letter from the party’s regional chairperson, George Lubinda sent to BDP chairman, Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane.
Lubinda, who only joined the BDP last year, is said to have submitted his name and that of another committee member, Force Mpho for special nominations to the council.
“The region secretly wrote to the party chairman, a district recommendation which ironically had Lubinda and Force Mpho recommending themselves for appointment although they are in the regional committee. This is something disgraceful and never heard of in the history of the BDP,” declared an angry party member.
His contention is that under normal circumstances, Members of Parliament (MP) or MP candidates are the ones who recommend names for nominations.
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This is despite the national platform where everyone else applies for nomination through the District Commissioner’s office.
According to the insider, what irked them the most is that Lubinda favoured BDP members who recently joined the party from opposition parties.
“Shamefully the regional chairmanship was biased in the recommendation towards those members who came from the opposition, some of who were never given wavers as the waiting period is two years. This has caused great displeasure in the area, hence the North West region is boiling and promises to go for Lubinda’s head.”
Another insider reiterated, “The people are extremely angry. All other MP candidates including Thato Kwerepe, Kosta Markus, Bagalatia Aaron and Ren Mbulawa are simmering!”
Although he admits being aware of the building tension, Lubinda maintains he never wrote such a letter.
“I have heard the rumours. I have been told that some former parliamentary candidates are angry, but none of them have been brave enough to confront me or the region about these baseless allegations.
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“I have never written or sent any recommendations to the party chairman. I have not even applied for such nominations.”
However, he stressed that in any case, if he wanted to, he was within his rights to make such an application.
“I am free to do so, it is a right for every citizen. Whether a member of BDP, opposition or non-partisan, it is an open window for all nationals of this country!”
Lubinda, who challenged Mbulawa in the 2014 general elections, is seen to be positioning himself for 2024.
Five years ago, he contested Maun West under the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) ticket.
Both Lubinda and Mbulawa lost out to Kgosi Tawana Moremi of Umbrella For Democratic Change (UDC).
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Lubinda has enjoyed a rapid rise since joining the BDP, a rise that includes being elected the party’s regional chairperson.
He maintains he has no ill intentions in his political plan.
“I have consulted Markus and Mbulawa and I’m still waiting for them to recommend names. Unfortunately both Kwerepe and Aarone have not picked or returned any of my calls.
“I am busy preparing an election report which has to be presented to the party’s secretary general. That is my main concern at the moment. We have to report why we failed to win all the five constituencies in the region,” Lubinda added.
At last month’s elections, the BDP lost all five constituencies in the area – Chobe, Maun West and East, Ngami and Okavango – to the UDC.
For his part, when asked for a comment, Mbulawa advised those who are interested in the special nomination positions to follow the normal application procedure through the Ministry of Local Government.
Having won a seat in the last council through the same window, Mbulawa revealed he has no interest in trying his luck this time around.
“It is up to those interested individuals to personally do their own lobbying as I do not want to polarise the constituency,” he added.