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Home » News » General » BDP’s 3 most wanted constituencies

BDP’s 3 most wanted constituencies

Publishing Date : 16 October, 2017

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is going all out for the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) scalp, as the ruling party seeks to reclaim three of the constituencies it lost to opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in 2014.


Molepolole South, Goodhope-Mabule and Gaborone North have been listed as among the most wanted constituencies as the party seeks redemption following the party’s dismal performance in 2014 general elections. BDP’s confidence in reclaiming some of its former constituencies has been inflated by various developments in the political landscape, with scales shifting against the opposition. BDP will deploy various tactics including reaching compromise in order to achieve this goal. While the UDC is still nursing wounds resulting from BMD split, BDP has been on a recruitment drive countrywide, claiming disgruntled opposition members to their fold.  


MOLEPOLOLE SOUTH

Molepolole South fell in the hands of the opposition for the first time since independence, with Dr Mmatli of the UDC defeating BDP strongman Daniel Kwelagobe, ending a political career spanning 45 years. The constituency came into being following the 2003 delimitation exercise that split Molepolole constituency into two. Kwelagobe chose to remain with Molepolole South while Gus Matlhabaphiri became a beneficiary, taking over the North side of the Bakwena capital.


For decades, Molepolole and the entire Kweneng region was a BDP stronghold, but the 2014 elections proved that the formation of BMD had hit hard BDP support in the region. However, recent developments in the political arena have given the BDP confidence that Molepolole South is among the easiest constituencies to bring back home. Dr Mmatli is seen as having lost his grassroots support following the split of BMD resulting in the formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP).


The BDP now believes that the Vice President of BMD lost his grip in the constituency. Although compromise has not been reached yet in the BDP primaries for the constituency, the party has fielded Daniel Kwelagobe protégée and its prodigal son, Kabo Morwaeng. If consensus is not reached, Morwaeng will go through primaries against former Kwelagobe rival Shima Monageng.


Morwaeng, who currently serves as the secretary for Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) Sub-Committee is seen as a strong individual who enjoys grass root support in Molepolole. Morwaeng who is also a former Barataphathi stalwart is tipped to benefit from Kwelagobe’s support. The veteran MP is said to be friendly disposed towards Morwaeng than his long term rival Monageng. Kwelagobe still commands respect among democrats in the constituency.


GABORONE NORTH

Gaborone North was one of the first constituencies the BDP made inroads into since 2004, when former junior minister Keletso Rakhudu won the constituency against Michael Muzwinila of Botswana National Front (BNF). The constituency had prior to that been a BNF heartland, having first won it in 1984 under the candidacy of firebrand Maitshwarelo Dabutha, when there were only only two constituencies in the city, the other being Gaborone South, held by Dr Kenneth Koma.


After holding on to the constituencies for 10 years, the constituency returned to opposition when Rakhudu lost to former Gaborone City Mayor Haskins Nkaigwa of the UDC in the 2014 general elections. However Nkaigwa recently left the UDC to associate with the newly formed AP. This has given the BDP the confidence that the party will be able to reclaim the constituency from the opposition due to the anticipated vote splitting.


The BDP has fielded its secretary general Mpho Balopi to bring home the constituency. Balopi is unchallenged in the party primaries. So far three candidates in Gaborone constituencies are unchallenged, the others being Anna Mokgethi (Gaborone Bonnington) and Tumiso Hearly (Gaborone Central). Balopi expressed confidence at a press briefing this week that he will win the constituency in 2019.


GOODHOPE-MABULE

The BDP has managed to coax youthful candidate Fankie Motsaathebe to step aside for Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Affairs, Eric Molale to contest unchallenged in party primaries. The decision was reached after a long engagement in which Motsaathebe was unwilling to give way for Molale. The Goodhope-Mabule constituency has become a subject of intrigue ever since it fell in the hands of the opposition in 2014, for the first time since independence. The constituency was previously held by BDP stalwarts; Ben Thema and Ronald Sebego before Kitso Mokaila took over the reign after the 2004 general elections.


In a shocking development, Mokaila lost the constituency to James Mathokgwane of UDC in 2014. Mathokgwane however resigned from parliament barely six months into his term. In the resultant bye-election, Mokaila chose not to contest the constituency. Molale won the disputed primaries but lost the bye-election after Barolong chief Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II was fielded by the UDC.


There are those who were of the view that Motsaathebe stood a better chance of winning the constituency against Kgosi Lotlaamoreng. Motsaathebe and Kgosi Lotlaamoreng are known to have been close for years. The Barolong chief has not been in good health in recent years prompting allegations that he may choose not to contest in 2019. There are also reports that Molale, one of Khama’s trusted allies’ fancies his chances as Vice President after the 2019 general elections, hence a deal was reached with Motsaathebe not to contest. Motsaathebe has been redeployed to serve as Molale’s campaign manager.

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