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Botswana unlikely to have a hung Parliament!

Publishing Date : 07 October, 2019

NDULAMO ANTHONY MORIMA
EAGLE WATCH


For the past three weeks, we have been discussing the possibility or lack thereof of this year’s general elections producing a hung Parliament. This week, we conclude that Botswana is unlikely to have a hung Parliament, and that the BDP will win!
 
In the first article, we attempted to answer this question by making deductions from the political parties’ historical performance at the polls, starting from 1965.Our conclusion was that the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Alliance for Progressives (AP), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Khama factors, counterbalanced with the Masisi factor, make this year’s elections too close to call, at least based on the political parties’ historical performance alone.


In the second article, we attempted to answer this question by considering the threat to the BDP, if any, posed by the UDC (with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP)) in collaboration with the BPF, albeit without the BMD and the AP. In particular, we examined the constituencies which the BDP unexpectedly lost to the UDC in 2014, the question being whether the UDC will retain them or the BDP will wrestle them back. We concluded that of the eight constituencies which the UDC unexpectedly wrestled from the BDP in 2014, it is likely to retain six and lose two.

In our view, the UDC is likely to retain Gaborone Bonnington North, Gaborone Bonnington South, Gaborone North, Molepolole North, Tlokweng and Mogoditshane, putting six seats in the bag.  But the same cannot be said about Ghanzi North and Molepolole South. In the third article, we considered whether the Opposition will retain the constituencies it currently holds other than the ones discussed earlier, the question being whether the Opposition will retain them or the BDP will win them.


These constituencies are Kanye South, Goodhope-Mabule, Maun West, Selibe Phikwe West, Gabane-Mankgodi, Mochudi West, Mochudi East, Francis town South, Ramotswa, Jwaneng-Mabutsane, Gaborone Central and Molepolole South. We concluded that of these twelve constituencies, the Opposition is likely to retain three, namely Maun West, Selibe Phikwe West and Gaborone Central. The remaining nine are doubtful, with the Opposition and the ruling BDP standing an equal chance.    


This week we look at the BDP held constituencies and consider those it stands the risk of losing to the Opposition. These constituencies, most of which are the BDP’s traditional stronghold, are Serowe South, Serowe West, Serowe North, Palapye, Kanye North, Thamaga-Kumakwane, Takatokwane, Selibe Phikwe East, Bobonong, Letlhakeng-Lephephe, Mahalapye West, Mmadinare, Mmathethe-Molapowabojang, Sefhare-Ramokgonami, Shashe-West, Kgalagadi North, Kgalagadi South, Chobe, Lerala-Maunatlala, Ngami, Okavango, Nata-Gweta, Gaborone South, Moshupa-Manyana, Shoshong, Tati East, Tati West, Boteti West, Boteti East, Tonota, Lobatse, Francis town West, Francis town East and Maun East.


We start with Serowe South, Serowe West, Serowe North and Palapye which, if it were not for the BPF and Khama factors, would, in my view, be retained by the BDP with wide margins. In my view, the BDP will lose Serowe West to the BPF following Tshekedi Khama II’s defection from the BDP to the BPF. Of course, the UDC vote will come in handy for the BPF, but even without it Khama II, who will be contesting against the BDP’s Moemedi Dijeng, will still win.


In my view, the 5,401 votes which Khama II got in 2014, beating his nearest contender by 4,453 votes, were not only because he was a BDP candidate. In my view, they were mainly because of him personally as a son to the nation’s founding president, the late Sir Seretse Khama. Of course, the BDP’s Kgotla Autlwetse will lose some voters in Serowe North because of the BPF and Khama factor, but considering his popularity, the 9,611 votes he got in 2019, and the splitting of votes between the Opposition and the Independent candidate, Ramadeluka Seretse, Autlwetse will, no doubt, emerge victorious.


Serowe South, whose outgoing Member of Parliament (MP) is Dr. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who has remained with the BDP despite speculation that she will defect to the BPF following her dissatisfaction with the BDP’s April presidential elections, from which she withdrew at the 11th hour, is likely to be retained by the BDP. This, not because the BDP’s Lesedi Phuthego, is a formidable force, but because the Opposition has no strong candidate.  


North East is also a traditionally safe district for the BDP. It is in that regard that even with the BPF and Khama support, Tati East and Tati West are almost in the bag for the BDP. Not even the fact that the BPF will be represented by its president, Biggie Butale, may sway the votes for the BPF.


The BDP may lose Bobonong. In 2014, Shaw Kgathi beat the BCP’s Taolo Lucas by 7,350 votes to 7,230 votes, surviving by a mere 120 votes. Some opine that were the BCP part of the UDC, and had it not been for the 162 votes obtained by an Independent candidate, Kgaulelo Machete, Lucas would have won. I agree.


In my view, therefore, Lucas, whose party is now part of the UDC, and has the support of the BPF and Khama himself, is likely to win. Afterall, his contender, Francisco Kgobokwe, is not a strong candidate. Worse still, because his Bulela Ditswe with Kgathi was so contested that it went for a rerun, some BDP voters who are sympathetic to Kgathi may stay away during polling day, something which can give Lucas an urge.


The BDP may also lose Lerala-Maunatlala. Prince Maele, who will be standing as an independent candidate, following his suspension from the BDP, is likely to win considering his popularity and the 6,356 votes he got in 2014, beating his nearest contender, independent candidate, Setlhabelo Modukanele, by 2,241 votes.


In Sefhare-Ramokgonami, it is doubtful whether even with the UDC and Khama factor, the UDC’s Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang will overturn the 1,552 margin he suffered in 2014 at the hands of his nemesis, Dorcus Makgato, who may be buoyed by the women’s vote because she is chairperson of her party’s Women’s Wing. The fact that she is inarguably President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s greatest cheer leader who is prepared to take on the Khamas may also boost her because the anti-Masisi sentiments are not high in the constituency.


The ‘principal residence’ court challenge, at the instance of the BCP, which she won, is likely to have attracted her some votes since the challenge may have been interpreted by some as an effort to get rid of her because they know she will emerge victorious at the polls. In my view, in Boteti West, were it not because the UDC’s Sam Digwa may lose votes because of his association with Khama, and because Slumber Tsogwane may have the advantage of being Vice President, Digwa would win this year’s elections.


In 2014, Tsogwane beat Digwa by 5,790 votes to 5,549, surviving by a mere 241 votes. This margin may be obliterated by the BCP vote, considering that in 2014 the BCP’s Tjiliga B. Letsholo got 622 votes. In my view, were the BMD still part of the UDC, Lobatse would likely return to the Opposition. This is so because the BCP, whose 534 votes for Ellias Rantleru in 2014, assisted the BDP’s Sadique Kebonang to beat the UDC’s Nehemiah Modubule with 489 votes.


The BDP’s Dr. Thapelo Matsheka may, therefore, benefit from the split of the Opposition and independent candidates’ votes, the result being that the 5,530 combined Opposition vote of 2014 may come to naught. The BDP may lose Gaborone South. If the BCP vote really comes into play, the UDC’s Nelson Ramaotwana may emerge triumphant over the BDP’s Meshack D. Mthimkhulu.


This is so because in 2014, the UDC and BCP’s combined vote was 5,947 compared to 3,872 for the BDP’s Kagiso P. Molatlhegi. In fact, Molatlhegi beat the UDC’s Murry Dipate by a mere 243 votes. Also, Molatlhegi, who was preoccupied by his role as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, did not do much for his constituency. In 2014, the BCP’s Bagalatia Arone beat the BDP’s Mbaha A. Kambimba by 6,864 votes to 5,473, with the UDC’s Vister Moruti getting a paltry 215 votes. Ordinarily, this would place the UDC in good stead, especially that the BCP is now part of it.  


But that may not be the case. As you are aware, Arone defected from the BCP and will be contesting under the BDP. In 2014, Arone and Kambimba garnered a total of 12,337 votes between themselves. No doubt, Arone will have lost some votes following his defection from the BCP, but, in my view, these will be mitigated by the BCP supporters who followed him to the BDP and Kambimba’s supporters. So, the UDC’s Kenny Kapinga is unlikely to win.


If it were not for the spoiler vote that independent candidate, Kopano M. Rannatshe, is likely to cause to the detriment of the UDC’s Ofentse Khumomotse, the latter would win the Thamaga-Kumakwane constituency this year. This is so because in 2014, the UDC and BCP combined vote totaled 7,155, exceeding the BDP’s Tshenolo Mabeo by 102 votes, and this year the BCP is part of the UDC.


In my view, though Rannatshe garnered a whopping 6,281 votes in 2014, Khumomotse stands a better chance than him because Rannatshe has contested elections about three times and lost. He also lost the party’s primary elections to Khumomotse. Rannatshe’s greatest asset, however, is the BNF’s traditional support base he may have built over the years.      


In conclusion, I think the BDP will retain Serowe South, Serowe North, Palapye, Kanye North, Takatokwane, Selibe Phikwe East, Letlhakeng-Lephephe, Mahalapye West, Mmadinare, Mmathethe-Molapowabojang, Sefhare-Ramokgonami, Shashe-West, Kgalagadi North, Kgalagadi South, Chobe, Ngami, Okavango, Nata-Gweta, Moshupa-Manyana, Shoshong, Tati East, Tati West, Boteti East, Tonota, Lobatse, Francis town West, Francis town East and Maun East. Thamaga-Kumakwane is uncertain.


If this were to come to pass, and the BDP also wins Thamaga-Kumakwane, it would have the 29 seats which are required to form a government. The BDP’s envisaged loss of Serowe West, Bobonong, Lerala-Maunatlala, Boteti West and Gaborone South would, therefore, be of no consequence. The same applies to the UDC’s envisaged retention of Gaborone Bonnington North, Gaborone Bonnington South, Gaborone North, Molepolole North, Tlokweng and Mogoditshane.

This is especially true because the Opposition is likely to lose Ghanzi North, Molepolole South, Kanye South, Goodhope-Mabule, Gabane-Mankgodi, Mochudi West, Mochudi East, Francis town South, Ramotswa and Jwaneng-Mabutsane.
   
Ndulamo Anthony Morima

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